1306 Bellona Ave.
Lutherville, MD 21093 410-515-8750
President and CEO
Richard O. Huffman is the founder, President, and CEO of Celebree Schools. Richie founded Celebree in 1994, growing our brand from a single preschool into the company we are today. In his current role, Richie shares his expertise, insights, and leadership with Celebree School franchisees, while continuing to shape Celebree’s short-term and long-term vision.
Over the course of more than two decades, Richie has grown Celebree from a single location into Maryland’s largest privately held chain of childcare centers. With Celebree’s entry into the franchise sector, Richie now shares the secrets to his success with Celebree franchisees. In his work with Celebree School franchise owners, Richie shares more than 20 years of industry experience and entrepreneurial expertise. He offers direct support to franchisees as they develop their locations while challenging assumptions that could impede their business. He is committed to the success of every franchisee and is available on a daily basis for one-on-one support.
As the President and CEO of Celebree Schools, Richie continues to guide the core vision of our brand: a vision that embraces change, innovation, and the constant pursuit of self-improvement. Thanks to Richie’s combination of leadership and experience, Celebree continues to set industry standards within the early childhood education sector. Richie has also shaped Celebree’s dynamic corporate culture, helping us attract some of the most forward-thinking leaders and executives in our industry.
Allison Tsomos joined Celebree in 1999. She has been a School Director, District Director, Vice President of Operations, and is now Chief Operating Officer. Over the past 20 years, Allison has been a part of the growth of the company by contributing to the opening and operation of 20 of the 26 corporate-owned schools.
As Chief Operating Officer, Allison is responsible for every aspect of fully functioning schools. She develops strategies that keep Celebree at the forefront of the curriculum, ensuring that every child will be ready for kindergarten. Allison is committed to assisting franchisees in reaching their financial plan. From analyzing lead conversion to customer satisfaction to revenue trends and expense control, Allison will provide guidance and suggestions to optimize the profitability of a Celebree School.
Allison’s commitment to being a thought leader in the early childhood industry overlaps with her personal and professional goal of mentoring others and contributing to her community. She is a member of the Maryland Childcare Association and National Association for the Education of Young Children as well as serving on advisory boards.
Lisa Bricker has been working with Celebree for more than a decade. Lisa joined our team in 2004, spending her first 11 years as Celebree’s Director of Human Resources, followed by her current role as Chief Talent Officer. Over her time at Celebree, Lisa has played an integral role in talent development, helping us become the brand we are today.
Throughout Lisa’s tenure at Celebree, she has carefully documented our talent development efforts, creating a set of tools, processes, and best practices for our company. These resources are easily accessed by new franchise owners, giving them the guidance and support they need to recruit, train, and motivate the best people for their business.
As the Chief Talent Officer at Celebree, Lisa is responsible for all aspects of talent development within our organization. Her expertise guides our overall strategy for talent development, and she takes an active role in the creation, implementation, and oversight of our recruitment and training initiatives.
In her role as the leader of our HR and Training Departments, Lisa provides new franchise owners with detailed training programs, covering everything from business development to talent acquisition to industry, state, and federal regulations. Lisa has also designed a “Train the Trainer” platform, giving franchisees the knowledge and resources they need to train their own team members.
Lisa’s passion for her work is reflected in her industry involvement, which includes membership in the Society of Human Resources Management, the Chesapeake Human Resources Association, the Association of Talent Development, and the Human Capital Institute. She has been certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources by the Human Resources Certification Institute and as a Senior Certified Professional by the Society for Human Resources Management. She was named the VIP Woman of the Year in 2014 by the National Association of Professional Women.
Emily Samuels joined the Celebree team in 2008. Her first role at Celebree was School Assistant Director, and she has since held the roles of School Director, District Director, and Director of Operations. Emily is passionate about developing leaders in Early Childhood Education and has an unwavering commitment to supporting our teachers and leaders in delivering an exceptional experience to children and families. Over the past 15 years, Emily has been a part of the growth of the company through educating and training leadership, supporting schools through accreditation, opening new schools, piloting new programs, and creating resources for school leaders as we continue to provide best in class programs.
As the Director of Operations, Emily is responsible for leading our field team of District Directors and school leadership in every aspect of fully functioning schools. She develops strategies that keep Celebree the recognized leader in Early Childhood Education and coaches school and regional leadership to excel in their unique role as educational business leaders. Emily is a thought leader and advocate in Early Childhood Education and participated in the Maryland Early Childhood Leadership Program. She is a member of the Maryland State Child Care Association and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. When not at Celebree, you can find Emily on the soccer fields or in the dance studio with her daughters, both of whom are Celebree graduates and fondly remember their years in the program.
Kristen Miller became part of the Celebree team in 2015, joining our organization as a School Director. In 2016, she became our Director of Accreditation, and worked to ensure that each school was offering the highest quality of care for their families and children. In 2022, Kristen became the Director of Education, managing the curriculum cycle and maintaining fidelity in the classrooms. Kristen brings over 20 years of classroom and back-office experience to her work, along with an unbending commitment to excellence in early childhood education. Before graduating to a management position, Kristen spent more than a decade working in classrooms.
Kristen works directly with Celebree franchise owners and location managers, helping them achieve above-and-beyond quality standards. Her work includes direct collaboration with owners and managers, ensuring that they have the knowledge and resources to meet Celebree’s rigorous brand standards, as well as federal and state regulations. Kristen is an invaluable resource to new franchise owners during the early stages of business development. Kristen guides franchisees through the educational journey, conducts evaluations to ensure that all locations meet brand standards, and helps franchise owners understand industry grading systems, like CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring Scale) and ERS Environmental Rating Scales).