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Growing the Goddard School Way

Touching Young Lives in Frederick

Jill and John Pelicano didn’t initially have starting a school in mind. “We come from a vast background in Education Management in Higher Education, specifically in the CPA Exam arena,” says John.  Prior to opening the Goddard School in Urbana, they jointly managed YAEGER CPA Review, a CPA Exam review program, in which they worked with college students throughout the country pursuing a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) designation. They not only hired teachers, administrators and content developers but were instrumental in developing textbooks and courseware that is still being used in CPA Exam preparation today.     

Their journey into Early Childhood Education began as parents. Searching for a preschool for their young children, John says, “We knew from the first time we entered the Goddard School in Frederick that there was a difference between the Goddard School and traditional day care centers in the area. The teachers were engaged with the students in the classrooms, providing open-ended questions and a play-based environment with a lot of books, blocks and other learning opportunities, and those aspects are key to a quality early learning program."

 The Pelicanos realized that this type of program was needed in their own community and began the process of bringing a Goddard School to Urbana. “With our background in Education Management, we felt that we were the right ones to bring this to our community. We knew this would make a real difference,” says Jill. “Our biggest inspiration in life and work is our children. We experienced firsthand as parents, before becoming business owners, the effect that a Goddard School education could have on our children’s educational future,” she adds. 

January 5, 2009, was just the beginning of the Goddard School in Urbana. “We are thankful to be celebrating 11 years of educational excellence. Our school has done so well that we needed to expand our building to grow. Even through that, we achieved numerous corporate awards and won the National Goddard Teaching Team of the Year Award. From the start, the school was staffed with educated professionals from the Directorial team to two Maryland Certified preschool teachers in each classroom.  And as for their curriculum, it is not something pulled out of a box. Goddard School teachers are the best of the best, authoring their own lesson plans weekly, which are designed to meet the needs of the individual student and the class in its entirety,” says Jill.  

“Along with an unmatched level of instruction, the Goddard School in Urbana provides a clean, warm, and loving environment for all students.  A rigorous daily cleaning program is in place, which includes all members of the team. From the classroom teachers to our commercial cleaning company that has cleaned the school every operating day since 2009, the health and safety of our students are top priority. And for something extra special, our infant suites are fully self-contained, including special UV light filters installed on the HVAC system,” says John.

The Pelicanos are thrilled with the growth planned in 2021. John says, “We are continuing to expand by bringing a new location to New Market, anticipated to open in June 2021. It will be situated on Route 144 right across from the New Market Town Center area. And for Fall 2021, as currently slated, we will be opening a second Goddard School in Urbana, adjacent to Sugarloaf Elementary school.” 

John and Jill are so grateful that they took the leap to open the school. John says, “Thank you to the families who place their trust in our school and us, in Urbana, and for allowing us to play a part in the future of their children. Owning our own Goddard School has been such a wonderful experience. We are fortunate to have had the honor of touching so many lives within our community.”