Second Place: Primrose Schools
Third Place: Goddard School
In 1989, registered nurse Gail W. Johnson was an instructor in pediatric care at Virginia Commonwealth University when she had the idea to open a specialized preschool center. Her modus operandi was offering high quality care to families and their children from the newborn to 14 years old, executive vice president Susan K. Bishop says: "We want to fill the void in early education." Years later, Johnson's efforts have evolved into two company-owned centers and 10 franchises, including one in Austin, Texas, and another in Shenzhen, China. That's not all. Rainbow plans expansions to places such as Indianapolis, Raleigh, N.C., and Pittsburgh, Penn., along with more spots in China and one in Indonesia. Johnson likens her globe-trotting success to rainbows because they "promise brighter hopes and dreams for tomorrow." Runners-up Primrose School and the Goddard Schools are successful franchises based in Georgia and Pennsylvania.