Executive Leadership

The senior leadership team at Goddard Systems, Inc., the franchisor of The Goddard School®, 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 brands.

  • Dennis R. Maple


    Dennis R. Maple was appointed Chairman of the Board for Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI) on April 6, 2021. Dennis has been a member of the GSI Board and Chief Executive Officer since September 3, 2019. Dennis provides leadership to the Goddard Systems Executive Team and guides the broader vision of The Goddard School system.

    A University of Tennessee graduate, Dennis has a 39-year professional career that includes executive leadership and general management 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 leveraged his transformational 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 served for a decade at Aramark in a series of leadership positions, culminating in his role as 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.

    In January 2021, Dennis was elected to the International Franchise Association's (IFA) Board of Directors. The IFA is the world's oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. Dennis is also a member of the Descartes Systems Group board of directors, where he serves as a member of the Compensation Committee and as Chairman of 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 been an active participant in organizations that support primary and secondary schools and communities across North America.

  • Paul Bower


    Paul Bower joined GSI in March 2021 as Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer. In his role, Paul provides overall direction and leadership to the Franchise Recruitment and Sales, Real Estate and Design and Construction teams and GSI’s prospective and existing franchise partners. Ensuring a collaborative, disciplined franchise development process for expanding the Goddard System, Paul is responsible for designing and executing real estate strategies nationally.

    Paul has over 30 years of experience leading brand growth and expansion through thoughtful and disciplined market planning, site selection, acquisition and development. Previously, Paul served as Senior Managing Director of Global Corporate Services for Newmark, one of the largest commercial real estate services firms in the world. He provided leadership of new store development efforts for a variety of national retail, restaurant brands, including First Watch restaurants, Bojangles restaurants, Sprint, For Eyes Optical by GrandVision, Saje Natural Wellness, WoodSpring Suites and WaterWalk Hotel Apartments.

    Throughout his career, Paul has held a variety of business and real estate development leadership positions in other companies that include Bob Evans Farms (Bob Evans and Mimi’s restaurants brands),  COSI, Inc. and McDonald’s Corporation. He was the recipient of the President's Award at McDonald's Corporation, which is awarded to the top 1% of global employees.

    During the span of his career, Paul has developed areas of expertise that include lease and contract negotiation, asset management, strategic planning, construction and design, franchise development and staff development in both large corporate and small entrepreneurial environments.

    Paul holds a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University in Ohio.

  • Jacqueline Burls


    Jacqueline Burls joined GSI in November 2020 as Senior Vice President and Chief School Support Services Officer.

    In her role, Jacqueline provides leadership on brand development, operational excellence and customer engagement to drive long-term growth for more than 500 Goddard Schools across the United States.

    Previously, Jacqueline served as Chief Operating Officer, Universities South, for Sodexo S.A., a global food services and facilities company. In that role, she oversaw a $700M portfolio of 160 universities across 12 states and focused on curating industry-leading services to facilitate student success.

    During the span of her career, Jacqueline has held a variety of operations and franchise development leadership positions at Starbucks Coffee Company, Walmart, Inc. and 7-Eleven, Inc.

    She has also served as a consultant within the Consumer Business Practices department at Deloitte and as an Investment Banker at Morgan Stanley & Co.

    Jacqueline is a people-first leader. She has a passion for accelerating performance by providing clarity of purpose, inspiring commitment and unlocking the potential of teams, franchisees and partners.

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

  • Tim Dwyer


    Tim Dwyer joined GSI in January 2021 as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

    In his role, Tim is responsible for providing executive leadership and management of GSI’s financial functions as he works to ensure that both GSI and Goddard School franchisees have a sustainable, long term and profitable business. One of Tim’s key focus areas is to use data to provide franchisees with valuable insights that will support them as they continue to grow their businesses.

    Previously, Tim served as Chief Financial Officer of Wind River Holdings, a privately held investment management firm and parent company of GSI. In that role, he was responsible for all accounting, financial reporting, treasury, tax, investment, risk management, banking relationships, budgeting and forecasting aspects of the business. He also held board positions for all of Wind River’s operating businesses, including GSI, Samson Rope Technologies, Philadelphia Mixing Solutions, Ltd., and Vixxo Corporation.

    During the span of his career, Tim has served in a variety of positions, including 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


    Christina Estrada became GSI’s Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources and Learning Officer in October 2019.  In her role, Christina leads the engagement, growth and development of team members in the Goddard Systems organization, as well as tools and insights to support the recruitment and retention of Goddard School teachers.

    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.

  • Don Sloan


    Don Sloan joined GSI in September 2020 as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer.

    In his role, Don will develop, direct and maintain all aspects of GSI’s information technology strategy, with particular emphasis on developing and designing the IT infrastructure and systems to enable secure functionality, high availability and efficiency for franchisees and GSI. Don will also lead the efforts to discover and implement new technologies and data analytic methods to benefit GSI and The Goddard School.

    Previously, Don spent the last six years at Randstad, the world’s largest workforce solutions and staffing company. Randstad has more than $27B in annual revenue, and Don most recently served as CIO of Randstad U.S., the largest operating company within Randstad. In this role, he led the delivery of a global digital platform to differentiate Randstad with its clients and candidates while improving the organization’s ability to grow revenue organically.

    During the span of his career, Don has also served as CIO of Kforce, and held a variety of IT leadership positions at companies that include IMRglobal, Tech Data Corporation and Harris Corporation.

    Don holds a bachelor’s degree in management information systems and a master’s degree in management and organizational leadership, which are both from the University of South Florida.

  • Cynthia Turner


    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.

Educational Advisory Board

  • Craig Bach, Ph.D.

    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.

  • Helen Hadani, Ph.D.


    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, Ph.D.


    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, M.D.


    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.

  • Kyle Pruett, M.D.


    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.

  • 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.

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