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The Stevie Awards® Highlights Debbie Martin, Female Executive of the Year

As seen on The Stevie Awards® for Women in Business “Female Executive of the Year” Page

Nomination Title: Debbie Martin, Director of Operations, The Malvern School


While headlines report “a dire child care workforce crisis amid a booming U.S. economy” and a growing shortage of qualified teachers, The Malvern School saw its team grow by 11 percent over the past year thanks to its director of operations, Debbie Martin.

Debbie Martin, Director of Operations at The Malvern School

By prioritizing the people side of the business, she has set the tone for a collaborative, dynamic and rewarding culture; enhanced the day-to-day operations at each of The Malvern School’s 26 locations and its Executive Office; been extremely successful in her optimization and continuous improvement efforts; enabled the organization to grow and ultimately ensures it offers one of the highest quality early childhood education programs available.

Debbie’s effectiveness is a direct result of her deep engagement across the company, including as a Malvern School parent herself. In 2018-19, despite significant demands at the executive level, she purposefully invested 50 percent of her time at individual schools, building relationships and working collaboratively with directors and teachers. Charged with re-aligning the organization’s culture with its Core Values – including tenets such as “Support each other,” “Be mindful, collaborative and respectful” and “Spread positivity” – Debbie has focused on giving all members of the team a voice and encouraging them to leverage their unique perspectives to contribute to strategic initiatives.

These are just some of the reasons The Malvern School earned the honor – for the first-time ever – of being named a Top Workplace in 2019 by The Philadelphia Inquirer.

To ensure The Malvern School remains a top career destination for early childhood educators, Debbie spearheaded the development of an employment branding campaign, including a refreshed website and positioning, helping to grow the number of career applicants by 40 percent.

She also led the charge in celebrating The Malvern School’s 20th anniversary, using the milestone to recognize longstanding team members, drive visibility and give back to others. Specifically, Debbie helped lead The Malvern School’s fundraising efforts for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, totaling $147,000 in 2018 and nearly $800,000 over the past 11 years, to help fight childhood cancer.

To bolster The Malvern School’s brand promise – and bottom line – Debbie launched several additional strategic efforts. In stark contrast to most schools in the industry that have quality checks once a year, under Debbie’s direction, quality and business assessments at each Malvern School increased to nine times per year, ensuring high standards are met while also identifying opportunities for efficiencies.

She also set out to reduce the amount of drop-off that early childhood education centers typically see over the summer. By revamping the camp program, the school has been able to further enhance the learning experiences it offers children as they grow and improve summer enrollment in just one year.

In addition, Debbie oversaw the grand opening of The Malvern School’s newest location in Marlton, New Jersey, which introduced a new model for early childhood education to the local community beyond traditional day care or child care programs.

Overall, Debbie drove impressive double-digit growth for the organization year over year, exceeded annual profitability targets and is on track to take The Malvern School to new heights.

Debbie Martin Biography:

Debbie Martin is an experienced executive known for leading teams and organizations to the next level. Her blend of expertise in operations, sales and marketing–combined with a background in learning and development–have enabled her to shape company and organizational strategy, build high-performing departments, and execute strategic plans to drive revenue and growth at well-known consumer businesses.

Debbie is currently Director of Operations at The Malvern School where she is a key member of the Senior Leadership Team, overseeing operational management of the business, program, sales and marketing, and facilities teams for 26 schools across two states.

As the sibling of a childhood leukemia survivor, Debbie is a dedicated supporter of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to fight pediatric cancer, one cup at a time.

The Malvern School © 2024


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