March 28, 2023

The Goddard School’s Dr. Lauren Starnes Receives National Recognition Through INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD®

Distinguished early childhood development expert’s book wins in Education category

The INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD® recognized Big Conversations with Little Children: Addressing Questions, Worries, and Fears as the 2023 winner in the Education category based on overall excellence. Written by The Goddard School’s Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Lauren Starnes, Big Conversations with Little Children helps caregivers and educators support young children in a way that preserves their dignity and innocence when they encounter difficult world and social events. Through her work, Starnes empowers educators and families to answer sensitive or tough questions children pose, respond to their worries and concerns and be prepared for ongoing dialogue.

“I am honored to receive this recognition from the INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD,” said Starnes. “I have dedicated my career to not only teaching and preparing children for the future, but also partnering with educators and parents alike on how they can best support their little learners. I wrote this book with the sole purpose of helping colleagues and families talk with young children about difficult topics. Seeing my work and passion recognized in this way has been the most humbling of awards.”

Starnes joined The Goddard School in April 2022 with 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. In her role, she is responsible for leading the development of The Goddard School’s new innovative and proprietary educational program for the early childhood education provider’s 75,000 students across the country. This educational program reflects the most current research and strongest proven approaches to learning while elevating the wonder and curiosity of children.

“Lauren’s leadership, passion for students and expertise in early childhood education has been paramount as we continue to foster both academic and social-emotional growth in the students cared for and educated in Goddard Schools each day,” said Dennis R. Maple, chairman and CEO of Goddard Systems, LLC. “This honor is another well-deserved recognition in Lauren’s prestigious career and further testament to how fortunate we are to have her in the Goddard family.”

Submissions for the INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD came from authors and publishers from around the world and were judged by experts from different aspects of the book industry including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters.

“We are proud to announce the winners and distinguished favorites in our 2023 annual INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD, which included an array of quality and diverse independent books,” said Gabrielle Olczak, awards sponsor. “Independent publishing is pushing on every corner of the earth with great content. We are thrilled to be highlighting key titles representing global independent publishing.”

For more information on the INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD and this year’s winners, please visit

For more information about The Goddard School, please visit, and to learn about Goddard Systems and how to become a franchisee, go to

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