Getting Back in the Swim of Things: 2021 Goldfish Core Value Award Winners!

Celebrate Getting Back in the Swim of Things!

Core Values Drive Excellence and Growth

for Goldfish Swim School Franchisees and Members

At Goldfish, Core Values drive how we work together, our decision-making and our performance. As we’ve grown Goldfish to serve over 120 communities across North America, these have been our guiding principles:

We go above and beyond with every detail to create a GOLDEN Experience

We believe in nurturing a culture that provides WOW! Customer Service

We do the right things, make the right decisions and treat people with Integrity, Compassion and Trust

We meet and exceed expectations so you see EXTRAORDINARY Results

We make a big deal about life’s accomplishments by remembering to CELEBRATE!

Each year, we honor the dedicated franchisees who go above and beyond to live these core values every day. Join us as we Celebrate some of the Golden schools that continue to make a splash as we all work together to Get Back in the Swim of Things!

Core Value Awards

Golden Experience

Goldfish Swim School – Lakewood Ranch, FL

Going above and beyond with every detail to create a GOLDEN Experience for its members, families and community is what Goldfish Swim School - Lakewood Ranch does each day. The team, led by owners George and Toby Loukmas, and Bret and Anne Edwards, along with their General Manager Jesse Stigsell, continually set themselves apart in their market by Wowing! members - in their school and in their community! From their sparkling clean school, to their commitment to making sure each swimmer is learning while having fun, to building lasting relationships and partnerships with schools and child-minded businesses in the area, the leadership team knows how to make a splash - and a memorable impression, as noted by their strong online reviews and recommendations.

The team at Lakewood Ranch has also mastered bringing the Golden Experience to life online - truly showing what it means to be a part of the Goldfish Family through their social media channels. They remain engaged with their followers, fans and potential members, showcasing a variety of members, team members, events and partnerships, while keeping their core focus top of mind - water safety education.

As Goldfish Swim Schools’ 100th location, the team takes great pride in fostering a good relationship with their Franchise Support Team as well. Participating in pilot programs, committing to the support plans and executing on franchise-led initiatives sets the Lakewood Ranch team up for success, while allowing the brand as a whole to continue to elevate support and services. Open and honest communication and feedback, while being receptive to their own feedback makes the ownership team at Lakewood Ranch worthy of a Golden Celebration!

WOW! Customer Service

Goldfish Swim School – Livingston, NJ

Customer service is so much more than what happens within our four walls. At Goldfish, we know every contact point is an opportunity to WOW! our guests and members with an experience they will remember, and want to share with others. The team at Goldfish Swim School – Livingston, NJ prioritizes that WOW! feeling, seeking out opportunities to put in that little extra that makes their members, guests and communities feel appreciated, understood and celebrated, whether it be in their school, on the phone or online.

Owners Jeffrey & Larisa Posner work closely with their General Manager Tiffany Schroeder, leading their team with a hands-on approach. All members of their management team consistently have scheduled teaching and training shifts to help ensure their instructors, deck supervisors and lifeguards are comfortable and confident with teaching The Science of SwimPlay® curriculum - setting their swimmers up to see Extraordinary Results while continually encouraging the team to do their best. When not teaching, their management team actively coaches the team from the deck and in the water to ensure swim lessons meet and exceed members expectations.

The Livingston’s team’s dedication to quality, consistency and fun at every lesson has earned the school a perfect 5-star rating from their members, and the coveted WOW! Customer Service Core Value Award for 2021!

Integrity, Compassion & Trust

Goldfish Swim School – St. Charles & Glen Ellyn, IL

Members, guests, team members and our communities deserve to be treated with Integrity, Compassion and Trust. When Goldfish Swim School recognizes a school with this Core Value Award, it’s because they’ve demonstrated their commitment throughout their team. The team at Goldfish Swim School – St. Charles & Glen Ellyn in the Chicagoland area does just that, and has for years.

The teams at these schools are led by owner Alex Tyler, who has also been recognized by Franchise Business Review Magazine as a Franchise Rockstar for his commitment to giving back. Alex shares his passion for philanthropy and community service with his teams, coordinating Goldfish Gives Back team building events throughout the year. Alex also organizes an annual mission trip to Gales Point, Belize, rallying Goldfish team members from across the system to help raise funds and supplies for educational needs in the community while providing swim lessons and water safety instruction to the children of the remote fishing village, and by taking on a special project each year to better their community - building new playscapes or a home for a family in need, for example.

In the schools, the Glen Ellyn and St. Charles' teams treat each member with Integrity and Compassion, routinely welcoming members by name, and creating a safe and fun environment for all. Swimmers who are nervous or scared, or who may need a little extra attention are met with warm smiles and patience, and clear communication remains at the forefront of the schools’ operations, with team members taking the time to connect and engage with their swimmers as well as their families. While these may seem like small gestures, these genuine connections are an integral component of the culture the St. Charles and Glen Ellyn Teams have nurtured.

Extraordinary Results

Goldfish Swim School - Falls Church, VA

Seeing Extraordinary Results takes a tremendous level of dedication and attention to detail.

It takes a strong social, community and online presence to get your name out there. It takes a high level of engagement with the Franchise Support Team and fellow franchisees to stay on top of systems, support and best practices. And it takes trust, training and commitment within your team to deliver the best swim lessons, experience and results possible.

As the recipients of our 2021 Extraordinary Results Core Value Award, the team at Goldfish Swim School – Falls Church in Virginia knows this first-hand! Hyper-focused on every facet of Goldfish and their community, owners Ryan and Gina Bewersdorf, along with Regional Manager Tommy Hamilton and General Manager Michael Mastropasqua, commit themselves to Meeting and Exceeding all expectations, so that their swimmers, and their school overall, see Extraordinary Results!

From ongoing training to hands-on, in-water support, the Leadership Team at Goldfish - Falls Church sets their team up for success, which in turns sets their swimmers up to meet their goals, and having some serious fun while doing some serious learning! The team retention rate - especially during a national hiring crisis - is also Extraordinary, which is a direct result of the Team seeking out the right people and providing that hands-on support -- they know that when team members feel supported, they can achieve anything! Finally, securing their spot for the Extraordinary Results Core Value Award, the Falls Church Team is collaborative with the Goldfish Franchise Support Team, sharing best practices and real in-school experiences to help evolve training and support -- which in turn allows the entire Goldfish system to continue to improve upon its Golden reputation.

Celebrate!

Goldfish Swim School - Winter Park, FL

“Life’s best enjoyed when you recognize the small moments that add up to an incredible life.” Goldfish - Winter Park owner Jon Thomas means this when he says this. He and his wife Gina have built a culture that lives to Celebrate, loud and clear, for all to hear! From high fives to ribbons, star students to team building events, creative social media celebrations and everything in-between, the team in Winter Park, Florida take celebrations to the next level for their members, team & community.

Embracing the essence of the Goldfish Brand, the team at Winter Park is always one of the first to volunteer for campaign initiatives and system rollouts, and find creative ways to make promotions their own! One example: throughout the month of April - Autism Acceptance Month - the Goldfish system worked to raise awareness for the increased risk of drowning that children with autism face, and the need for acceptance and inclusion for all. The Winter Park team then went Above and Beyond, and formed a partnership with Alijah’s Awareness in honor of their daughter. Goldfish - Winter Park and Alijah’s Awareness worked together to raise awareness of those drowning risks, while providing access to swim lesson scholarships, giving 10 children the opportunity to learn essential life-saving swim skills. The Winter Park team made sure to really Celebrate these special swimmers, complete with swag bags to make sure they had swim gear as well as any extra time or guidance that they needed with their instructor, and of course, the team made sure that that every Alijah’s Swimmer always left with a smile!

Celebrating the team themselves is something that Gina and Jon feel passionate about, making sure that their dedicated employees know how much they are appreciated and impacting lives. Engaging in their overall development and empowering the team to grow allows the entire crew to truly dive into life’s pool of possibilities. And the sweet treats - like ice cream trucks and donuts - are just the icing on the cake for all the ways that they Celebrate!

And now...the moment we’ve all been waiting for!

Each and every Goldfish Swim School strives to live by our five Core Values day in and day out, and use them as a guiding light in their everyday operations. Each year, we recognize a new school and an established school who have truly gone Above and Beyond to provide that Golden Experience, who we consistently hear about their WOW! Customer Service, and who show Integrity, Compassion and Trust in every interaction. Because of their commitment to the Core Values, these schools see Extraordinary Results, and that is something that we are here to Celebrate!

As we continue to focus on Getting Back in the Swim of Things, we would like to take this time to recognize our Rookie of the Year and School of the Year for both 2020 and 2021!

Rookie of the Year 2020

Goldfish Swim School - Rogers, AR

Moving your entire family across the country to open a swim school is quite a feat on it’s own. Doing it in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, with a smile on your face and seeing Extraordinary Results is nothing short of incredible.

The Fleming Family - Wade, Paula, Mark and Niki, fell in love with the Goldfish mission and model after their children went through the program. They took a leap of faith, uprooted their family, and decided to open Goldfish Swim School - Rogers NWA - the first Goldfish in the state of Arkansas. The Flemings knew that opening the first Goldfish Swim School in the state would have a profound impact on not only their family, but on the thousands of families in their community whose children would benefit from learning crucial life-saving skills.

The pandemic hit right as the Flemings were planning their grand opening. Despite the obstacles they faced, they stuck with the plan, knowing they were building toward something bigger than themselves. Driven by their passion and support from the Goldfish Franchise Office, as well as their General Manager Jana Kennedy, the Flemings not only opened their swim school on-time, but in a safe and responsible manner that set the standard for aquatics facilities in the area. The vision always remained the same - create a safe, fun and welcoming environment for children to learn and grow.

With strong community outreach efforts, even through the initial waves of the pandemic, the Rogers team didn’t slow down, and made a splash in their new home! As they learned more about their new community, they worked with city officials to understand community needs. In doing so, they committed their Grand Opening Celebration to being a fundraiser for the local Fire Department, with the goal of helping fund a Baby Box for the community - allowing the safe delivery of abandoned infants to get the immediate care and social services they need. The Rogers team raised over $5000, and truly showed their commitment to Integrity and Compassion, as well as to keeping ALL children safe in their community.

The Flemings have also been recognized by Franchise Business Review, as Franchise Rockstars in the Family Business Category. They are truly rockstars who have made waves in their new community, and we couldn’t be prouder to have them as part of the Goldfish Family!

Congratulations to the entire team at Goldfish Swim School - Rogers NWA!

Rookie of the Year 2021

Goldfish Swim School - Media, PA

The team in Media, PA committed to doing things right from the start. Following the Franchise Opening Timeline and Plan to a tee, owners Anthony Pistilli and Greg and Alexandra DeRise worked to develop, grow and elevate team members from their neighboring Malvern school into leadership roles in Media – showing their confidence and the integrity of building opportunities from within, and setting this new school up to see Extraordinary Results from Day #!

The ownership team took, and continues to take, an active role in their school, being hands-on throughout training and continuing to take on responsibilities wherever needed throughout the school. Despite opening during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Media school opened with strong membership, establishing itself as a trusted community resource for families in Pennsylvania.

Highly engaged with their Franchise Support Team, Goldfish - Media leaned on the assets, programs and training tools available to them, while also gleaning from the lessons they learned through their first school opening. They emerged Safer. Stronger. Together.®, ready to make an even bigger splash and stronger impact on the lives of children in their communities!

Fintastic job to the entire Goldfish - Media Team!

School of the Year 2020

 Goldfish Swim School - Dayton, OH

What’s next after winning the Core Values awards for Celebrate in 2018, and Integrity, Compassion and Trust in 2019? Winning School of the Year in 2020, of course!

Goldfish Swim School - Dayton has been making waves in Ohio since 2016. Throughout the years, their Extraordinary Results have been evident through enrollment, net promoter scores and employee retention, consistently ranking among the highest in the entire Goldfish system. Ingrained in the brand, owners Amy and Andrew Strozier are big believers of sharing their best practices, collaborating with the Franchise Support Team, and making their team available for initiatives that all Goldfish Swim Schools can leverage - a clear indicator of their commitment to their Integrity, Compassion and Trust.

That commitment extends beyond the Goldfish System and into the Dayton, OH community. Amy and Andrew believe in advocating for child development and safety beyond the four walls of their school, and committing to doing the right things through a number of school-led Goldfish Gives Back initiatives. Together they have established partnerships with Dayton's Children Hospital and Safe Kids of Greater Dayton, creating water safety materials to help provide essential education to ALL children in their area. The team also donates thousands of dollars in swim scholarships each year to the Miami Valley Down Syndrome Association, and was a 2020 USA Swimming Foundation Grant Recipient, further extending their abilities to provide the opportunity to learn the life-saving skill of swimming to children who might not otherwise have the chance to learn.

The Goldfish - Dayton team’s heart and commitment to water safety, their community and Extraordinary Results are something to Celebrate!  And we’re not the only ones to take notice, as Amy was also a finalist for the 2021 Better Business Bureau Eclipse Integrity Awards. This school continues to WOW! their community and the franchise world, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for the entire Dayton Team!


School of the Year 2021

Goldfish Swim School - Wexford, PA

With an average review rating of 5 stars, it is obvious that members of the Goldfish Swim School - Wexford see the same Goldeness that we do with this team!. Each day, they go above and beyond to WOW! members and guests, and to bring joy to their community. Their system-leading enrollment inspires the entire Goldfish brand to reach new depths of the impact that they can make in their communities, and their strong operation model - led by core values, of course - continue to showcase the pool of possibilities that come with being a part of the Goldfish Family.

Aside from the Extraordinary Results the Goldfish - Wexford Team consistently sees, their ownership group - led by Scott and Christy Payne - also instills and celebrates Integrity, Compassion and Trust with their network of schools. Committed to making a difference in their communities, as well as helping develop safer, stronger kids, the schools partnered with the Make a Wish Foundation, collectively raising $45,000 and granting 10 wishes - starting with helping a woman have a barn built on her family's property, so that she didn't have to be separated from her horse - who is also her best friend.

In addition to their philanthropic partnerships, the Wexford team brought excitement to their members through the Goldfish Dream Big Little Fish campaign, making the dreams of one of their members a reality! This particular Little Fish has Big Dreams of being a Goldfish Swim Instructor when she's older, and to Celebrate that dream and help her prepare, the school made her an honorary team member for a day - complete with Door Calls, Team Huddles, her own Goldfish Rash Guard, and a month of lessons so that she can keep learning from her favorite swim instructor - a truly Golden Experience that this little fish will carry with her for the rest of her life!

It’s moments like that, where the Goldfish - Wexford Team sees the opportunity to go above and beyond to WOW! their communities, that make lasting impressions and memories - setting the GOLD standard for School of the Year 2021!

Congratulations to all of our award-winning schools, and THANK YOU to each and every Goldfish Swim School across North America, for their commitment to their members, teams and communities, and for staying focused on our core mission of making all children safer in and around the water, as we continue to Get Back in the Swim of Things!

Ready To Join A Franchise That's Making Waves?! 

Deciding to invest in a franchise is a pivotal moment. It means committing to something greater than yourself, being open to the proven processes, and doing right by your team, members, community and yourself. If you have the commitment, integrity and passion to make an impact in your community and make a lifelong difference for children, and our core values align with yours, let’s talk! Give us a call at 844.906.0580 to learn more about our model, award-winning support system and available territories.

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