The preschool’s honors include Executive Director of the Year and Presidents’ Choice Award
By Samantha Bambino
A career in early childhood education is far from easy. But to look at Kate Perez, one would never know it.
In just 16 years, this Feasterville resident has soared up the ladder, quickly transitioning from a Pre-K teacher to executive director of The Malvern School in Richboro, the region’s largest privately owned preschool.
Earlier this month, Perez’s talent for creating a constructive yet fun environment for students and staff alike was recognized at The Malvern School’s annual awards dinner at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern, where she was named “Executive Director of the Year” in front of the entire organization.
“To be quite honest, we have 26 locations between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, so we have 26 amazing directors across the board,” she said. “So pretty much, it’s an amazing accomplishment and I’m super proud.”
This was Perez’s first time receiving such an honor, and she’s thrilled that it coincides with The Malvern School’s 20th anniversary. Since its founding, she explained how its philosophy has remained unchanged — to deliver high-quality education to children between the ages of 6 weeks and 8 years.
According to president and co-founder Kristen Waterfield, it’s people like Perez who have kept the school thriving for two decades.
“It is their passion for early childhood education that has fueled us to become the largest privately owned preschool in the region. And it is their passion that has enabled us to make such a profound and positive impact on the growth and development of hundreds of thousands of children since we opened our first schools in 1998,” Waterfield said. “We are immensely grateful they have chosen The Malvern School as their career destination and for their ongoing devotion to helping our young friends reach their highest potential.”
Perez, a Delaware County native, found a home with The Malvern School after only five years in the field. She kicked off her career as a Pre-K teacher in Chester County before working her way into an assistant director position. In 2007, she landed the job of executive director in Richboro, and in 2016, tacked on “senior” to the beginning of her title.
In her role, Perez serves as a trainer and role model for the company’s executive team, and drives the overall growth of her students and the school. Staff members at all locations are able to give Perez a call with general questions, and she regularly provides advice and guidance on how to go about handling various situations.
“Being awarded the title of senior executive director was my first step in this direction with being able to serve as a mentor to the other school locations, consistently a sounding board for them,” she said.
Each day, Perez not only works to uphold the school’s 20-year mission of educating children, but also ensures a vital element is included in the everyday curriculum — fun. According to Perez, the structured yet enjoyable individualized learning is what helps students reach their highest potential.
“Working here at The Malvern School, following our core values, we always do keep the children first. I think that is one of the most important things,” she said. “Being able to think like a child is important as well, and I think some of the biggest parts of our day is enjoying a lot of laughter.”
In addition to Perez’s recognition, The Malvern School of Richboro was chosen to receive the Presidents’ Choice Award. This sought-after honor, personally selected by presidents Waterfield and Joe Scandone, is given to the school that shows consistent effort toward constant and never-ending improvement in the operations of their school, including the quality of the program, staff and learning environment.
The school also took home the “Safe Schools” and “Families First” awards.
For more on The Malvern School of Richboro, located at 748 Second Street Pike, visit malvernschool.com/our-schools/location/richboro-preschoolor call 215–953–7800. ••
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com