Writer / Taylor Dixon
Photographer / Walker Photography
After their daughter Avery was born 10 weeks early, Justin and Mollyanne Davis spent 61 days in the hospital awaiting their baby’s arrival home. During this time they received massive support from the Geist community, including parents and families from LeafSpring School, an early-learning center catered toward infants through 8-year-olds.
“The LeafSpring community really came together for us,” Justin Davis says. “It was the support that we needed when we needed it most. It was a huge relief that our oldest daughter Dylan was so excited to go to school every day, enabling us to spend that time with Avery in the NICU. When the weekends came we had family and close friends that did playdates for Dylan which was instrumental.”
Davis shared that there were several life decisions that led him to this opportunity and this was just one of the reasons the couple decided to purchase LeafSpring School from Steve and Debbie Ramos. Davis officially became the President and CEO on January 31 after spending more than 10 years in orthopedics working in hospitals throughout Indianapolis. Now running the school, Davis is fortunate enough to bring his daughters in with him in the mornings and can check in to see what they’re doing throughout the day.
“For years I’ve wanted to run a business of my own and this was an amazing opportunity not only to do that but to be partnered with the Ramos family in the Geist community where my wife and I have lived for a decade,” he says. “LeafSpring has the highest level of accreditation with the Paths to Quality available in the state, is the only early education school in Indiana with a nurse on staff full time and has a focus on diversity and inclusion. All of which makes me very proud to be a part of a place that so many local families can rely on.”
LeafSpring School was originally founded as Rainbow Station in Virginia in 1989. In January 2017, Steve and Debbie Ramos opened the Geist location. In addition to the Get Well Place, where the nurse ensures any scrapes, bruises or illnesses are taken care of, LeafSpring prides itself on a unique curriculum that focuses on teaching children leadership skills that help mold their character at an early age.
The curriculum includes a focus on play-based learning, which allows for teachable moments in both the classroom and the playground. One of the core literacies, Civic, Davis says, is teaching students about “putting we before me,” which teaches students about giving back to the community.
One example is the fundraising effort last year during the tornadoes that hit Kentucky. The LeafSpring staff, families and students held a clothing, food and toy drive to help donate to families in need. Together they loaded two semis full of supplies for those affected. Afterward, the students at LeafSpring received letters and thank-you notes from the families they helped.
“Not only were the kids involved, but they got to see how they impacted other families in another state far from home,” Davis says. “That’s just one of the core literacies showing how this isn’t a daycare. It is a school and we teach real-life lessons at the school every day. We are a Level 4 Paths to Quality and strive every day to be the center of excellence in Indiana, not only in curriculum and education but also in safety. We partner with the police and fire departments and work closely to make sure we are going above and beyond with safety measures. Not only do we do tornado and fire drills monthly, but we also do an intruder drill, a drill we hope to never need but will definitely be ready for.”
This summer the students will run a lemonade stand to raise money for Indiana Cure of MS. LeafSpring will also host Camp Blue Sky starting May 30 and lasting for 10 weeks. Camp Blue Sky will feature a different theme every week, including a superhero week complete with a visit from Spider-Man, a dinosaur week when students will learn about paleontology, a space week and other fun events. The camp will first open up for families that attend LeafSpring, and any additional spots will be open to the Geist community.
As Davis continues the legacy of learning at the Geist location, he also hopes to bring the values of LeafSpring across the greater Indianapolis area by opening other locations in the coming years.
“Steve and Debbie Ramos did an amazing job of creating a true center of excellence in early education here at LeafSpring,” he says. “My goal as the new owner must first be to continue with that tradition of excellence here and then to expand LeafSpring to other parts of Greater Indianapolis in the next few years. We would love to take what we know is a successful model that focuses on education and safety and expand that into other locations to provide an opportunity to other families in Indiana.”
LeafSpring is currently looking to hire early educators at the Geist location, at 10408 Olio Road in Fishers. For more information or to apply, visit the careers portal at geist.leafspringschool.com.
For more information about LeafSpring or to schedule a tour, call 317-401-3800 or email Davis at email@example.com.