With Howard County roots dating back to 1994, Celebree School has opened another location in Columbia.
By Kristin Danley-Greiner, the Patch
COLUMBIA, MD — Celebree Schools’ roots date back to 1994 when its founder Richard Huffman opened his first child care location called Enchanted Child Care in Ellicott City in 1994. A second location in Parkville soon followed, along with locations in Bel Air and other sites.
In 2002, Enchanted Child Care was rebranded as Celebree Learning Centers and by 2023, the child care umbrella had opened more than two dozen locations in Maryland and Delaware. This month, Celebree opened a location at 9151 Rumsey Road in Columbia offering childcare services for children ages six weeks to 12 years.
Tasha Upchurch, director of the Columbia child care location, told Patch that the center has an enrollment capacity of 144. They also host soccer activities for kids.
Owned and operated by Nirali, Nihir and Gopika Patel, Celebree School of Columbia-North draws upon the expertise of the trio. Nirali Patel grew up in India but moved to Columbia when she was 11 years old. She has a bachelor’s degree in gerontology and a master’s degree in healthcare administration. Gopika also was raised in India where she earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration and a post-graduate diploma in international business. Gopika married Nihir and together they moved to the United States.
The three were inspired to pursue early childhood education because of Nihir’s grandfather, who always emphasized that education is the foundation of a successful society. Growing up, education was never an option for him, so he worked hard to become principal of the first ever Science University in Gujarat, India.
“He instilled the value of a quality education in his children, who continued to teach Nihir and Nirali not only the importance of getting a quality education, but also to continue to pass the learning to future generations,” the owners noted.
Upchurch has more than 15 years of experience in the early childhood education field and received owned and operated her own independent child care center in Owings Mills. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in business management.
Upchurch told Patch she and the owners enjoy their location and being part of the Howard County business group.
“We enjoy the variety of local businesses. All the owners are friendly and supportive,” Upchurch said.