Company: Primrose Schools, Acworth, GA USA
Company Description: Founded in 1982, Primrose Schools is the nation’s leader in providing a premier educational child care experience in more than 270 schools in 18 states. Each Primrose is independently owned and operated by Franchise Owners and offers an environment that helps children have fun while nurturing Active Minds, Healthy Bodies and Happy Hearts®.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Executive of the Year – Consumer Services –11 to 2,500 Employees
Nomination Title: Jo Kirchner, President and CEO
Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated executive since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):
As president and chief executive officer of Primrose Schools, Jo Kirchner leads more than 260 schools nationwide, overseeing strategic direction for the company and managing its vision to maintain service excellence. Jo guides new business development and brand leadership strategy while ensuring quality, sustainable growth and profitability. Her lifelong mission is to deliver a nurturing environment and a quality early learning foundation to help children become confident adults who love who they are and what they do. She is driven to meet and exceed parent demand for high-quality educational childcare. Her passion to improve early childhood education in the United States, and to lead with integrity, place her among the top ranks of presidents and CEOs of small companies for leadership and character.
Since July of 2012, Jo has accomplished the following new milestones in her career:
• Primrose Schools celebrated its 30th anniversary in September, completing and opening 31 new schools, with locations in three new markets.
• In July 2012, Primrose announced that Jo was selected to serve on the AdvancED Board of Trustees, making her the first early childhood education leader on this international, 12-member school accreditation board. With Jo’s help and vision, the Board established the strategic direction for its new international early childhood standards.
• In July 2012, the company announced it was the first early childhood education provider to earn AdvancED accreditation under the new Standards for Quality Early Learning Schools, paving the way for others to follow. After serving on the team that developed the new Standards in 2011, Primrose was the sole early childhood education organization to pilot the new standards, which is the highest-level accreditation an early learning school can receive.
• Networking with thought leaders and researchers in her field, this year Jo began establishing the Primrose Promise, a corporate social responsibility program designed to bring the proven techniques of the Primrose School Balanced Learning® curriculum to at-risk children.
• On July 20, 2013, Primrose hosted a National Open House event in partnership with Scholastic and Reach Out and Read to help parents understand the importance of early childhood literacy. The inaugural event was Jo’s brainchild and it surpassed all goals, with more than 1,700 families in attendance at Primrose locations around the country and nearly 400 new enrollments reported.
• Between July 2012 and July 2013, Jo Kirchner actively served on the following leadership boards:
Reach Out and Read Board of Directors, Early Care and Education Consortium Executive Committee, Growing Leaders Board of Directors, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Board of Trustees, and the AdvancED Board of Trustees. At Primrose, Jo serves as a member of the Primrose Schools Advisory Council and oversees the Primrose Schools Board of Directors.
Jo’s strong leadership qualities and dedication to educational excellence instill passion and confidence in Primrose franchise owners, support staff, parents and teachers. Every day, Jo forwards her mission to impact the future of America’s children.
Provide a brief biography of the nominated executive (up to 125 words):
Jo Kirchner joined Primrose in 1990 and was instrumental in franchising Primrose School’s unique research-based educational model. This initiative led to her promotion as President and CEO in 1999, at a time when very few women led U.S. franchise companies. Under her leadership, Primrose grew from four schools in Atlanta to more than 260 schools nationwide today.
Jo serves as a member of the Primrose Schools Advisory Council and oversees the Primrose Schools Board of Directors. She founded the Primrose Children’s Foundation, which provides financial support to not-for-profit organizations benefitting young children. Under her leadership, Primrose Schools has raised and donated more than $750,000 to Ronald McDonald House charities and $1,100,000 to Reach Out and Read, where Jo currently serves on the Board of Directors.