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The best brands have the best leaders.
The Goddard School leadership team proves it.


The Goddard School Franchise’s senior leadership team guides and shapes the company while working with the support team to provide franchisees with the tools they need to sustain and grow their businesses. The team brings an extensive background of franchising and business expertise along with many years of experience helping franchisees build their businesses.

The Goddard School Franchise’s senior leadership team guides and shapes the company while working with the support team to provide franchisees with the tools they need to sustain and grow their businesses. The team brings an extensive background of franchising and business expertise along with many years of experience helping franchisees build their businesses.

Executive Team

Joe Shumacher



Joseph Schumacher is the chairman of the board of Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the franchisor of the Goddard School. Joe has more than 40 years of franchise experience and served as GSI’s CEO from 2010 to 2019. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing the continued growth and development of this leading early education franchise system as it expanded to over 500 locations nationwide.

Joe’s journey in franchising began at MAACO Enterprises, Inc., the franchisor of MAACO Auto Painting and Body Works Centers. Joe served in various executive capacities at MAACO for more than 10 years and attended Widener University Delaware Law School at night. After serving as MAACO’s corporate counsel, Joe went into private practice with the blessing of MAACO’s founder and CEO, Tony Martino. Joe continued representing MAACO and other well-known brands, such as McDonald’s, Auntie Anne’s, GNC and Manpower. One of Joe’s clients was Carousel Systems, Inc., the original franchisor of The Goddard School, which he had represented since its inception in 1988.

In 2002, Wind River Holdings, LP purchased the franchise assets of Carousel Systems, Inc. and continued franchising the Goddard School through GSI. Joe and his brother Phil, who was then president of Carousel Systems, Inc., facilitated the sale, and Joe continued to represent GSI as its outside counsel. In 2007, Joe joined GSI as its chief operating officer, a position that allowed him to use his wealth of knowledge and franchising expertise. His acumen in the operational sphere of the business and his keen ability to create strong franchisor-franchisee relations led to his appointment as chief executive officer when his brother retired in 2009. A firm believer in reasonable and responsible growth, Joe encourages franchisees to voice their opinions and take an active role in the development of the franchise system. He is committed to ensuring that franchisees and the educators they work with have the optimal amount of corporate support and the resources and tools they need to be successful.

One of Joe’s favorite quotes is “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing” by George Bernard Shaw, which is fitting for the former CEO of an early education franchise with the mission, “Learning for Fun. Learning for Life.”

Executive team CEO-Dennis Maple

Dennis Maple

President and CEO

Dennis R. Maple became president and CEO of Goddard Systems, Inc. in September 2019.

A University of Tennessee graduate, Dennis has a 37-year professional career that includes experience with a range of well-known companies. Before joining Goddard, he served as president of First Student, Inc., which is North America’s largest K-12 school bus transportation services company, for five years. Dennis used his leadership skills to help restore First Student, Inc.’s profitable growth by focusing on process discipline and cultivating an engaged stakeholder culture of performance. This led to the creation of a strong brand in the school transportation service sector.

Before joining First Student, Inc., Dennis spent 10 years serving as the president of Aramark Education, which focuses on delivering food, nutrition and facilities services to K-12 school markets.

At First Student and Aramark, Dennis gained valuable insights into the issues facing educators and administrators, particularly issues about ensuring healthy and safe environments for students.

Dennis also spent more than 20 years in general management with consumer packaged goods leaders such as The Quaker Oats Company; PepsiCo, Inc.; Kraft General Foods, Inc.; and Coors Brewing Company. His experiences with these companies taught Dennis to use data-driven insights to spark innovative approaches to business models and product offerings and to help shape business strategies.

Dennis is a member of the Descartes Systems Group board of directors, where he serves as a member of the compensation committee and the nominating committee. He has also served as a board member for various organizations in his hometown of Philadelphia, including the Urban League of Philadelphia, Episcopal Academy, Philadelphia Outward Bound School, Philadelphia Academies and the Paoli Hospital Foundation. He has also been an active participant in organizations that support primary and secondary schools and communities across North America.

Chris Malone


Executive Vice President, Chief Growth and Strategy Officer

Malone became GSI’s Executive Vice President, Chief Growth and Strategy Officer in March 2020.

Chris has over 30 years of sales, marketing, consulting and organizational leadership experience, and a track record of driving growth and profitability. Prior to joining GSI, he held leadership positions at Fidelum Partners, Choice Hotels, ARAMARK, Coca-Cola, the National Basketball Association and Procter & Gamble.

As Founder and Chairman of Fidelum Partners, Chris consulted to a broad range of Fortune 500 companies on customer loyalty, experience management and growth strategies. Chris also co-authored the award-winning book, The HUMAN Brand: How We Relate to People, Products & Companies, along with renowned social psychologist, Dr. Susan Fiske. He has delivered over 100 keynote addresses around the world on the customer loyalty and experience insights from their book.

Previously, as Chief Marketing Officer of Choice Hotels, one of the largest hotel companies in the world, Chris led the company’s 800-person global consumer marketing, worldwide travel industry sales, e-commerce and reservations organization. Prior to that he served as Senior Vice President, Marketing for ARAMARK Corporation, a multinational food, facility and uniform services enterprise with over $12 billion in revenue annually.

Chris holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland at College Park and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Rich Agar


Senior Vice President, Chief School Support Services Officer

Rich Agar serves as the Senior Vice President, Chief School Support Services Officer at Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI). In this role, he oversees three teams that support the Schools: Openings, Steady-State Operations and Standards. In addition he oversees Franchise Transfers and the Franchise Engagement team. Before joining GSI, Rich served as Vice President of Franchise Operations for the Hertz Corporation. He has also held senior management positions in operations, franchise development and real estate at School of Rock, Party City, Blockbuster and the Marriott Corporation.

Christina Estrada


Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer

Christina Estrada became GSI’s Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer in October 2019.

Prior to joining the leadership team at GSI, Christina spent the last 15 years serving the Education sector. In 2013 she joined TIAA, a diversified financial services organization serving the not-for-profit sector, including colleges and universities. Most recently, Christina held the position of executive vice president and chief human resources officer for TIAA Bank. Before that, she was the senior vice president, head of HR for TIAA's retirement, retail, operations and marketing areas.

Prior to TIAA, Christina spent nine years at Aramark, where she worked in Aramark's Education division building a performance-driven culture, helping K-12 school districts to flourish with best-in-class, service-oriented employees. Over the span of her career, Christina has held a variety of HR leadership positions with Fortune 500 companies, including global responsibility with Time Warner, America Online, Disney Consumer Products and Citibank.

Christina is a passionate workplace advocate with a successful track record of influence and impact with leadership teams. She has a reputation as a trusted adviser, authentic leader and mentor, inspiring colleagues at all levels in an organization to contribute fully to serving customer needs.

Christina holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arizona and a certificate in HR Strategy from Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations where she has also been a guest lecturer. She is currently pursuing a master's degree at Penn State in Organization Development and Change Management.

Robert Scopinich


Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

With more than 15 years as CFO of Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), Bob Scopinich is responsible for overseeing the financial structure and organization of the company, as well as developing strategy and forecasting for the company’s financial future. He has spent more than 25 years in the financial industry, working in a variety of fields including professional services and investments.

Before joining GSI, Bob worked at Deloitte, one of the “Big Four” professional services firms providing audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management and tax related services to its clients. After spending five years with Deloitte, Bob joined Wind River Holdings, a privately owned investment company which provides its operating companies with strategic direction, support and capital. Bob was introduced to the GSI brand while on the team at Wind River that finalized the GSI acquisition. Bob joined GSI as CFO at an impressive 30 years of age, after spending almost 10 years in the financial services industry, bringing with him the experience and passion gained from his previous professional ventures.

Bob is committed to the steady expansion of GSI by placing focus on the company’s franchisees. Under his leadership, GSI has been dedicated to using data and analytics to make effective and informative decisions that impact franchisee’s bottom line. This constant refinement has led to numerous updates in how GSI and franchisees access vital information.

With his combined two decades of solid experience, Bob continues to bring innovative ideas to GSI, ensuring the brand’s steady and responsible financial growth.

Cynthia Turner


Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer

Cynthia Turner serves as Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer of Goddard Systems, Inc. Cynthia has been with GSI for 10 years providing support for legal and compliance issues. Earlier in her career, Cynthia worked as Assistant General Counsel for a sales performance management software and consulting company and as a Senior Associate in the Litigation Department at a large law firm. Cynthia is committed to helping GSI maintain its status as a thought leader in early childhood education and as a preeminent franchisor.

Craig Bach

Craig Bach, PH.D.

Vice President, Education

Craig Bach, Ph.D. currently serves as the Vice President of Education for Goddard Systems, Inc., the corporate headquarters of The Goddard School Franchise. Dr. Bach is an executive, educational administrator, faculty member and researcher with over 25 years’ experience working across a broad range of educational settings, including pre-K, K-12 and post-secondary within for-profit, public and not-for-profit environments.

Dr. Bach received his doctorate from the Group in Logic and Methodology of Science at U. C. Berkeley. His areas of expertise include learning assessment, accreditation, learning analytics, program evaluation and instructional technologies. He has a broad experience working with regional and programmatic accreditation agencies and state quality assurance departments.

Prior to coming to Goddard, Dr. Bach also served as Drexel University's Vice Provost for Institutional Research, Assessment and Effectiveness. He also served as the Vice President of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness at Kaplan Higher Education where he managed five teams working on assessment, research, analytics, data management and performance measurement.

Melissa Miller


Vice President, Digital Marketing

Melissa Miller became GSI’s Vice President of Digital Marketing in July 2020.

Melissa will lead the development and delivery of GSI’s digital marketing and media strategies to drive enrollment, brand equity and competitive differentiation. Melissa is focused on expanding and elevating GSI’s use of digital channels, online commerce and emerging technologies.

With more than 15 years of experience, Melissa has worked across the digital sphere, from foundational email and SMS campaigns to innovative mobile-first campaigns with Google and Bing. She has also led digital marketing for high-profile retail brands including Ann Taylor, Avon and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Most recently, Melissa served as the Vice President of Integrated Media and Marketing at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, where she was responsible for all media planning and buying for 20 hotel brands.

Melissa holds both a B.S. in business administration and an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University.

In joining GSI, Melissa plans to uphold a commitment to focus on digital innovation and advance technologies in an effort to help the business.

Julie Treon


Vice President, Strategic Planning and Communications

Julie Treon became GSI’s Vice President of Strategic Planning and Communications in June 2020.

Julie brings more than 25 years of experience in corporate communications, brand and reputation management, issues management and crisis response, change management, and M&A and financial communications.

Before joining GSI, she founded Red Acorn Group, a communications consultancy focused on helping leaders to manage significant business events. Prior to that, she served as Vice President of Corporate Communications and Marketing for FirstGroup America, with particular focus on issues management and crisis response for a public transportation fleet of 65,000 school and city transit buses. She and her team also developed the award-winning Safety Dog Bus Tour to engage communities in the safe transport of school children.

Over the span of her career, Julie has held a variety of Communications leadership roles within both global and national companies that include OfficeMax, Ashland Chemical, LexisNexis and NCR.

Passionate about helping leaders to articulate their visions for the future, Julie is also a writer who combines a lifelong love of learning with the ability to repackage complex messages in ways that are engaging for diverse audiences. She believes stories connect us to one another, enabling us to share our humanity and uniting us in common missions.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton and an MBA from The Ohio State University.

Educational Advisory Board

Kyle Pruett



Through his groundbreaking work in child psychiatry, Dr. Pruett has become an internationally known expert on children, family relationships and fathering. He is a clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. He has the unique ability to share his medical knowledge and other information in plain English, which makes him highly sought-after by the media and other organizations. He is also a prominent author of award-winning books, including Me, Myself, and I, Fatherneed, and Partnership Parenting. He is a frequent contributor to many publications, including The Washington Post, USA Today, Parents, Parenting and Psychology Today.

Helen Hadani

Helen Hadani


An expert in early childhood and creativity development, Dr. Hadani helps design and evaluate products that promote children’s curiosity and love of learning. As a fellow at the Brookings Institution, Helen leads the Playful Learning Landscapes project—an initiative that brings together the fields of developmental science and placemaking with the goal of improving child and community outcomes. Previously she was the director of research for the Center for Childhood Creativity where she guided program development for the Bay Area Discovery Museum. She also authors parent- and teacher-facing publications on creative thinking and child development. She has more than 20 years of experience in research and education settings and has worked with toy, media and technology companies, including Disney, Hasbro, Apple, LEGO, Fisher-Price and Mattel.

Jennifer Jipson



Dr. Jipson is a professor of child development at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo with expertise in how children understand science, health and technology. She draws on scientific research to develop learning opportunities for young children. She received funding from the National Science Foundation to design early science learning materials and serves as a consultant for children’s museums as well as toy and digital media companies. Her published work includes scholarly research articles, book chapters and an edited volume on learning in museum settings.

Jack Maypole



A well-respected authority in the field of pediatrics, Dr. Maypole is a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and department vice chair and director of the Comprehensive Care Program at Boston Medical Center. As a pediatrician, he treats children with complex and chronic illnesses, such as neurodevelopment problems and complications of premature infancy. He is also active in local, state and national efforts in healthcare advocacy, especially for children with special healthcare needs. He has also written widely on child health matters in print and online.

Lee Scott



Ms. Scott has more than 25 years of early childhood education program development experience. For ten years, she’s been a consultant to The Goddard School, helping design the summer, after-school and kindergarten programs. She was a senior officer at Sylvan Learning Systems and Connecting with Kids and is a co-founder of Curiosityville. She also authored the national Partnership for 21st Century Learning Early Learning Framework and consulted on innovative educational projects with Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute, National Geographic Society, Scholastic Publishing, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the United Nations and Mattel Learning.