May 6, 2024

The Goddard School Teacher of the Year Awards Honor Extraordinary Early Childhood Educators

Annual awards program recognizes 16 teachers for their dedication to students

Goddard Systems, LLC, (GSL), the manager of The Goddard School® franchise system, the nation’s leading premium early childhood education provider, is honored to recognize 16 Goddard School teachers from across the country for their outstanding efforts and commitment to students this past year.

Now in its 18th year, The Goddard School Teacher of the Year Awards recognize Goddard School educators who bring enthusiasm to teaching and inspire wonder in the learning process. This year, more than 6,600 teachers from across The Goddard School’s more than 630 locations were nominated by families and their colleagues in four classroom categories (infant, toddler, preschool/pre-k and kindergarten/school-age) across four regions (northeast, southeast, central and west). Sixteen teachers, including one grand prize winner, were chosen for exemplifying excellence, leadership, creativity and a safe, nurturing teaching approach.

“We put each teacher at the heart of everything we do at Goddard because teachers put each student at the heart of everything they do,” said Dennis R. Maple, chairman and CEO, GSL. “The Goddard School system is comprised of thousands of dedicated teachers across the country, and as we kick-off Teacher Appreciation Week, I want to thank every one of them for their commitment to and passion for education and for nurturing the extraordinary in every child. As part of our celebration of Goddard School teachers, I am privileged to recognize the Teachers of the Year. I thank this remarkable group of educators for going above and beyond to meaningfully impact the lives of their students and families.”

16 Regional Winners

This year’s 16 winning Goddard School teachers have incorporated their own passions into their teaching, created strong bonds between home and school and focused on the continued health and safety of their students. In addition to being named a 2024 Goddard School Teacher of the Year, GSL gifted each of the regional winners a $1,000 cash award and dedicated a custom set of Life Lesson Library books, Goddard’s exclusive social-emotional development program, to each school in the teacher’s name. Congratulations to the following teachers:

Northeast Region Winners:

Southeast Region Winners:

Central Region Winners:

West Region Winners:

Grand Prize Winner

In addition to being a regional winner, The Goddard School of Westport’s Albina Ejupi was named The Goddard School Teacher of the Year Awards’ grand prize winner. Ejupi has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of students and families during her 4-year tenure at the school.

“I’m deeply honored to have my passion for education acknowledged through this prestigious award,” said Ejupi. “Every day, I’m inspired by the growth and enthusiasm of my students, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such talented and dedicated colleagues who share my commitment to early childhood development.”

The stimulating and supportive learning environment that Ejupi cultivates has had a profound impact on the students in her care. She embraces family, community connections and diversity because they serve as catalysts for her students to develop a sense of self and learn more about the world around them. She constantly seeks new and imaginative ways to engage students, fostering curiosity, critical thinking and a love for learning. As the grand prize winner, GSL honored Ejupi with an additional $5,000 cash award.

“At Goddard, we are focused on nurturing teachers’ growth and empowering their success,” said Dr. Lauren Loquasto, senior vice president and chief academic officer, GSL. “All of the Teacher of the Year honorees exemplify Goddard’s commitment to providing a rewarding career where educators are encouraged to bring their creativity to the classroom and are truly valued and supported. We appreciate how these teachers love what they do while preparing their students for the next stages in both their academic and life journeys, and we can’t thank them enough for their commitment to their school communities.”

For more information about The Goddard School, The Goddard School Teacher of the Year Awards and this year’s winners, please visit

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