Executive Leadership

Our senior leadership team brings an extensive background of franchising and business expertise.

Dennis Maple

Name
Dennis R. Maple
Title
Chairman, President and CEO

Dennis Maple

Dennis R. Maple is the president and chief executive officer of Goddard Franchisor LLC, and he also serves as the chairman and CEO of Goddard Systems, LLC.

Dennis Maple

He provides leadership to the executive team and guides the vision for The Goddard School system.

Dennis served as president of First Student, Inc., North America’s largest K-12 school bus transportation services company. He was also president of Aramark Education, which focuses on delivering food, nutrition and facilities services to K-12 school markets. His career includes executive leadership with The Quaker Oats Company, PepsiCo, Inc., Kraft General Foods, Inc. and Coors Brewing Company.

Dennis is a longtime participant in organizations supporting primary and secondary schools and communities. He is a member of the International Franchise Association's Board of Directors, Early Care & Education Consortium Board of Directors and Descartes Systems Group Board of Directors, where he is chairman of the nominating committee and part of the compensation committee.

Dennis is a graduate of the University of Tennessee.

Jacqueline Burls

Name
Jacqueline Burls
Title
SVP, Chief School Support Services Officer

Jacqueline Burls

Jacqueline Burls is SVP, chief school support services officer at Goddard Systems, LLC. She provides leadership on brand development, operational excellence and customer engagement to drive long-term growth for Goddard Schools across the U.S.

Jacqueline Burls

Previously, Jacqueline served as chief operating officer in the Universities South division for Sodexo S.A., a global food services and facilities company. She oversaw a $700M portfolio of 160 universities across 12 states and focused on curating industry-leading services to facilitate student success.

She has held operations and franchise development leadership positions at Starbucks Coffee Company, Walmart, Inc. and 7-Eleven, Inc. She also served as a consultant within the consumer business practices department at Deloitte and as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley & Co.

Jacqueline holds a bachelor’s degree in political economy and history from Williams College and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Tim Dwyer

Name
Tim Dwyer
Title
SVP, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary

Tim Dwyer

Tim Dwyer is the chief financial officer, treasurer and secretary of Goddard Franchisor LLC, and he is also SVP, chief financial officer of Goddard Systems, LLC. He provides executive leadership and management of the financial functions, ensuring Goddard Systems and Goddard Schools have a sustainable, long-term and profitable business.

Tim Dwyer

He previously served as chief financial officer of Wind River Holdings, a privately held investment management firm and parent company of Goddard Systems. In this role, he was responsible for all accounting, financial reporting, treasury, tax, investment, risk management and banking relationships. Tim also held board positions for Wind River’s operating businesses.

Prior leadership positions include vice president of corporate development at Global Indemnity Insurance Company, company controller at United National Insurance and vice president of investment accounting treasury services at Reliance Insurance Company.

Tim holds a bachelor’s degree from Saint Joseph’s University and received his CPA license in 1987.

Christina Estrada

Name
Christina Estrada
Title
SVP, Chief Human Resources and Learning Officer

Christina Estrada

Christina Estrada is SVP, chief human resources and learning officer at Goddard Systems, LLC. Christina leads the human capital strategy for Goddard Systems employees, Goddard Systems’ enterprise project management office and the learning/training strategy for the Goddard School system.

Christina Estrada

Christina spent nearly two decades serving in the education sector. She formerly served as executive vice president and chief human resources officer for TIAA Bank and senior vice president and head of human resources for TIAA's retirement and retail areas. Her career also includes leadership experience at Aramark, Time Warner, America Online, Disney and Citibank. At Aramark, she worked in the K-12 education division.

Christina holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Arizona and a certificate in human resources strategy from Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Marcel Nahm

Name
Marcel Nahm
Title
SVP, Chief Marketing Officer 

Marcel Nahm

Marcel Nahm is SVP, chief marketing officer at Goddard Systems, LLC, where he is responsible for leading the premium early childhood education brand and overseeing all marketing and lead generation efforts, as well as corporate communications.

Marcel Nahm

Prior, Marcel was senior vice president of marketing, restaurant brands for FOCUS Brands, where he directed the marketing activities for Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAllister’s Deli, Schlotzky’s and more. There, he also served as vice president and chief marketing officer for Auntie Anne’s and has held leadership roles for The Hershey Company and Mott’s.

With over 25 years of global experience, Marcel has extensive expertise in franchising, omni-channel commerce, P&L management, brand equity stewardship, breakthrough communications, portfolio innovation, digital marketing and media.

Marcel holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and an MBA from the University of South Carolina.

Cynthia Turner

Name
Cynthia Turner
Title
SVP, Chief Legal Officer

Cynthia Turner

Cynthia Turner is the chief legal officer of Goddard Franchisor LLC and SVP, chief legal officer of Goddard Systems, LLC. She is responsible for legal affairs, including the development and implementation of legal and business strategies, risk management and mitigation, compliance, enforcement and regulatory.

Cynthia Turner

Cynthia also leads the government advocacy and outreach work on behalf of Goddard Systems and The Goddard School franchise system, most notably on issues relating to the franchising industry and federal and state investments in childcare.

Cynthia previously served as assistant general counsel for a sales performance management software and consulting company, as well as a senior litigation associate for one of Philadelphia’s premier law firms.

Cynthia holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctorate from William & Mary Law School.

Lauren Starnes

Name
Dr. Lauren Loquasto
Title
SVP, Chief Academic Officer

Lauren Starnes

Dr. Lauren Loquasto is SVP, chief academic officer at Goddard Systems, LLC. She is responsible for leading the development of The Goddard School’s proprietary education program, driving research-based innovation and implementing new accreditation standards across the franchise system.

Lauren Starnes

Prior, Lauren served as vice president of early childhood education at Primrose Schools Franchising Company, where she oversaw the continued evaluation, development and implementation of Primrose’s early childhood curriculum and research models.

Lauren has more than 20 years of experience in education, including curriculum development, evaluation and implementation, as well as teaching and consulting in the fields of preschool, special needs and elementary education.

A widely published author and lecturer, Lauren holds a doctorate in educational leadership, as well as a master’s degree and doctorate in child development.

Matt Zaia

Name
Matt Zaia
Title
SVP, Chief Development Officer

Matt Zaia

Matt Zaia is SVP, chief development officer at Goddard Systems, LLC, where he is responsible for growing the Goddard School footprint by leading franchisees through site selection, real estate development, design and construction processes. 

Matt Zaia

Most recently, Matt served as vice president of development and franchising at Firehouse Subs, part of Restaurant Brands International (RBI). While there, he developed the first development and analytics team and a new franchise sales team, as well as launched new market planning technology for the US and Canadian markets. 

Prior to joining Firehouse Subs, Matt was vice president of development at Domino’s Pizza, where he was responsible for corporate and franchise domestic store growth. At Domino’s, he oversaw franchising, market planning, real estate, construction, facilities, and the growth of the domestic and international supply chain center system. With more than 15 years of franchise experience, Matt has guided first-rate global brands with expanding their portfolios and led teams across a broad spectrum of development functions. 

Matt holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in architecture, both from Lawrence Technological University.

Dr. Ali Tafreshi

Name
Dr. Ali Tafreshi
Title
SVP, Chief Information Officer

Dr. Ali Tafreshi

Dr. Ali Tafreshi is SVP, chief information officer at Goddard Systems, LLC. He is responsible for building and executing a robust information technology (IT) roadmap, improving processes and applications to deliver value to the franchise system and leading the efforts to implement new technologies and data management.

Dr. Ali Tafreshi

Ali most recently served as chief information officer at Authority Brands, LLC, where he helped lead the creation of future-state software solutions to drive efficiency and optimal experiences for all stakeholders. Prior to joining Authority Brands, he served as an IT leader for consulting firms, the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and T-Mobile, among other organizations.

With more than 20 years of leadership experience, Ali has an exceptional track record and an extensive background in IT operations, security and analytics, vendor management and regulatory compliance in a diverse array of sectors that include aviation, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and franchising.

Ali holds bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in engineering from the University of Maryland. He has also completed post-doctoral research and executive training in strategy and innovation at the MIT Sloan School of Management. 

Educational Advisory Board

Our Educational Advisory Board (EAB) is a diversely skilled panel of educators, researchers and experts who ensure The Goddard School's individualized learning program is consistently at the forefront of early childhood development.

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