Offering The Best Childhood Preparation for Social and Academic Success.


Goddard School faculty members are warm and nurturing trained professionals.

   Lead teachers hold degrees in early childhood education or related fields, and assistant teachers have education and experience. All the teachers use effective and unique lesson plans to engage children in the learning process.

All teachers must complete an exclusive training series developed specifically for The Goddard School. Goddard Systems University provides ongoing training and coaching about health and safety standards, curriculum and classroom practices, developmental guidelines and enrichment programs so the teachers can provide excellent care to children.

Each year, we recognize four outstanding teachers out of the thousands of Goddard School educators across the country for their excellence in early childhood education.  

2016 Teachers of the Year



Anna Pecoraro, Elgin, IL
Anna Pecoraro, a kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Elgin, took The Goddard School’s learning through play philosophy to heart when she created Family Game Night. Every Friday, children choose a new game from the classroom game library to take home and play with their families. When children return to school on Monday, they write a journal entry about who they played with, what they played and what they enjoyed about the game. By playing these learning games, the children learn critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills and more. In May, the board games will be given to children and families of a local shelter for women and children.




Pamela Gijanto & Sabrina Piotrowski, Marlboro I, NJ
Pam Gijanto and Sabrina Piotrowski, pre-kindergarten teachers at The Goddard School located in Marlboro (School Road East), created the Kindness Mission to guide and encourage children to be kind to others. The mission’s goal is to show the students that their small acts of kindness can have a big impact on others as well as themselves. Pam and Sabrina believe that children should feel good about themselves for not only being “smart,” “athletic,” “silly” or “funny,” but for also being kind and caring toward others. During the month of February, Pam and Sabrina organized a gently used toy collection to donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth County. They specifically asked parents to encourage their children to choose toys that they would like to donate, allowing the students to actively be involved and experience the feeling of helping others.



Christina Mruskovic, Hillsborough, NJ
Christina Mruskovic, a kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Hillsborough, organized intergenerational activities for her class to participate in with residents of a nearby assisted living facility. The children spent the first few months of school setting the foundation for the project by learning about families, etiquette and manners. Christina incorporated lessons about different generations into all the learning domains. After some brainstorming, the children decided to make love bug pins with the residents to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The children worked with the residents to help them complete the craft, then shared a snack and sang songs. Christina is already planning the next event in May when the class will visit the facility to do a Mother's Day activity with the residents.



Paige Hardwick & Erika Posey, Roswell, GA
Erika Posey and Paige Hardwick, preschool teachers at The Goddard School located in Roswell, teamed up to establish a classroom with a strong focus on investigation and research, supported by an independent, engaging and exciting environment. Following a donation of a cooler filled with tadpoles, the teachers worked with the students to create a frog habitat for their squirmy friends. Over the first few weeks, the population of tadpoles diminished, and Paige reached out to the Save the Frogs organization for assistance. Soon the class was down to one frog, who was named Gonzo. As Paige worked to keep Gonzo alive and well, Erika integrated the frog life cycle, environment and characteristics into her class lessons. When the children learned that frogs have become endangered due to a diminished habitat, they established a local chapter of Save the Frogs, which is called The G3 Club. The club currently has more than 50 members.


2015 Teachers of the Year



Angie Petrillo, Wayne, NJ
Angie Petrillo, a pre-kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Wayne, taught children and parents about the importance of good manners by producing a musical called “Good Manners: A Medieval Quest for Polite Behavior.” She and a team of fellow teachers designed costumes, crafted a set and worked with the children to rehearse. After weeks of preparation and rehearsal, the children, ranging from infants through those six years old, took to the stage to tell the tale of sorcerers, princesses, knights and dragons who discovered the importance of good manners. Angie coordinated a total of four performances, and each one was a huge success. The children and parents had a blast while the teachers enjoyed the collaboration.




Gerianne Holl, Cranberry Township, PA
Gerianne Holl, a pre-kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Cranberry Township, helped develop her students’ writing and communication skills by integrating the Pen Pal Patriots program into the language arts and social studies curriculums. She encouraged the children and families in her class to communicate with members of the U.S. Navy stationed in Bahrain. The children and their families created cards and care packages to send to their pen pal. Gerianne and the children also use an interactive whiteboard and Skype to chat with their pen pals several times throughout the year. The children collaborate in developing the questions, and then take turns speaking to the pen pals via the interactive whiteboard. Gerianne’s family’s military background and her co-teacher’s experiences with the armed forces inspired her to create the program.



Ryan Mayes, Goodyear, AZ
Ryan Mayes, a preschool teacher at The Goddard School located in Goodyear, is on the cutting edge of STEAM learning (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics). In addition to providing STEAM learning opportunities with the children, he has created a strong home/school connection by providing valuable resources for parents to continue the learning outside of the classroom. The Education Beyond the Classroom: STEAM Parent Series is split into sessions that address each subject and has been well received by families in the community. Ryan has recorded the sessions and has made them available to those who cannot attend.



Valerie Schmitzer, Doylestown, PA
Valerie Schmitzer, a kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Doylestown, combined education with giving back to the community. Valerie and the children in her class spent months studying coins and money, construction and design, the chemistry of solids and liquids, art concepts of line and color and literacy topics such as letter sounds and persuasive writing. The children then collaborated to use everything they learned to open a lemonade stand at the School to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand. At the end of each day, the children counted the money they received from sales and graphed their progress toward their monetary goal. Valerie and her students also discussed the importance of raising money to help advance medical research.

To view more Teacher of the Year videos, please visit our YouTube Channel!

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