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The Malvern School - Female Entrepreneur of the Year

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 Stevie Awards for Women in Business

Company: The Malvern School, Glen Mills, PA
Company Description: The Malvern School, founded in 1998, is a year-round private preschool for ages six weeks to eight years. The Malvern School believes in developing the whole child in a nurturing, yet engaging environment and offers an innovative curriculum that has raised the bar in early childhood education. The Malvern School has 26 locations throughout southeastern PA and central and southern NJ.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Consumer Services –11 to 2,500 Employees

Nomination Title: Kristen Waterfield Leverages Entrepreneurial Success to Empower Communities

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

Over the past year, Kristen Waterfield–President and Co-Founder of The Malvern School–has continued to leverage her success as an entrepreneur to empower others, make a positive impact on local communities and give back to those in need.

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of The Malvern School and two decades since Waterfield played a key role in introducing a new educational model for children from six weeks to eight years old beyond traditional daycare or childcare programs. Waterfield has grown The Malvern School from two locations in Malvern, Pennsylvania to 26 locations throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey and is now at the helm of the largest privately owned preschool in the Philadelphia region. Over the past 20 years, she has had a major influence in educating more than 30,000 children.

She has also grown her team from 20 teachers and staff to 580 today. Amid this growth, Waterfield has not only made strategic investments to enhance her schools and the business–she has also made significant investments in her team, allowing them to directly share in the school’s success. In August 2017, she made the executive decision to restructure the organization’s already competitive pay scale to better reward her employees who selflessly dedicate themselves to the education of the youngest members of our communities.

With a steadfast focus on high quality and high value, Waterfield is continuing her journey to bring new educational opportunities to more families. She and her team recently opened schools in Robbinsville, New Jersey (September 2017), Marlton, New Jersey (June 2018) and are currently working on plans to open three additional schools in 2019.

As a champion of childhood literacy, Waterfield’s reach extends much further. Working personally with former First Lady Barbara Bush and The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, Waterfield spearheaded an effort to revitalize “Mrs. Bush’s Story Time”–a popular 1990s radio show that encouraged parents and children to read aloud together.

Waterfield adapted the program to the classroom and The Malvern School was the first school in the country to introduce “Mrs. Bush’s Story Time” to more than 2,000 of its preschool students in 2011. She and her team also created and continually maintain integrated activity plans for each of the children’s books featured in the original broadcast that are offered free-of-charge to all preschools, daycares and libraries across the U.S. in collaboration with the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library. In 2018, Waterfield and her staff hosted special story time events to honor the former First Lady and her remarkable legacy after her passing.

Outside the classroom, Waterfield led the charge to raise more than $140,000 this year to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundationand support the fight against childhood cancer–bringing the schools’ total fundraising efforts to nearly $800,000. More than 10 years ago, she initiated a philanthropic partnership between The Malvern School and ALSF. Each year, they have been named a Top Fundraiser by ALSF.

Additionally, Waterfield extends the school’s commitment to ALSF by sponsoring CBS 3’s annual Alex Scott Telethon.In 2018, this sponsorship provided integral support to helpraise a record-setting $7 million+ for pediatric cancer research in just 14 hours.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 125 words):

For more than 25 years, Kristen Waterfield, President and Co-Founder of The Malvern School, has been an influential force in early childhood education, blazing a trail as an entrepreneur and building a purpose-driven business–always putting the children first.

Identifying the opportunity to help children realize their full potential at each stage of their development–beginning at critical periods of cognitive, physical and social-emotional growth–she is credited with introducing diverse and innovative programming that raised the bar in early childhood education.

A recognized leader in business and education, Waterfield began her career as a preschool and kindergarten teacher.She is a member of the Board of Trustees at The Westtown School,and supports Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, Unite for HERand Cradles to Crayons.