About Us



  • George Fogel

    Chief Executive Officer

    George has over 25 years of education services, operational, and development experience throughout his career. Most recently, George held various senior management positions at Bennett Day School, a private pre-kindergarten to 12 school, Rasmussen College, a private equity backed for-profit college, and Deltak edu, a leader in online higher education partnership and technology solutions. He holds an MBA from Booth School of Business at University of Chicago and a BA in Economics from DePauw University.

    George lives in downtown Chicago with his daughter and enjoy spending time in northern Michigan.  He has been a competitive swimmer since age six.

  • Ben Newman

    Chief Development Officer

    Ben has 15 years of operating and investing experience in a number of settings. He was most recently the Chief of Strategy and Corporate Development for a private equity backed engineering and consulting firm. Prior to that, Ben was an investment professional at a private equity firm and also worked in investment banking at Duff & Phelps. Ben holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Ben currently has two young children, both of whom are currently enrolled at an early childhood education center.

  • Gena Sayej

    Chief Operating Officer

    Gena brings nearly 20 years of experience in early childhood education.  Beginning her journey as a teacher, Gena has continued to take on new positions, challenges, and opportunities with leading early childhood education companies.  In her most recent role, Gena was responsible for new center growth, where she led first-year operations of acquisitions and de novos for 30-50 centers per year. She has a true passion for providing a high-quality solution for today’s working families and ensuring children receive the best early learning experiences possible.

    She holds a BS in Child Development from Madonna University.  Gena lives outside of Detroit with her husband and two sons. 

  • Don Rath

    Chief Human Resources Officer / Chief Information Officer

    Don has more than 20 years of Human Resources experience.  In his most recent role, he served as the CHRO and CIO for a private equity-backed healthcare management group.  Before that, Don served as SVP of Human Resources for a national senior housing management company with more than 170 locations. He has a BS degree in Management from Kettering University and graduated with a JD from DePaul University School of Law. He is a licensed attorney and member of the Illinois State Bar. 

    Don lives in Northwest Indiana with his wife and two daughters.

  • Emmett Riordan

    Chief Financial Officer

    Emmett has over 15 years of finance and accounting experience, primarily at growth-stage, investor-backed businesses. Most recently, he was Director of Finance and Accounting at Q-Centrix, a private equity owned Healthcare IT firm. Emmett’s other roles include leading the finance function for Sagence, a venture capital-backed data consulting/analytics firm. Prior to working in industry, he was an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC. Emmett is a CPA with a Finance degree and recently earned an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Emily Frankiewicz

    Regional Director

    With over eight years of experience in early childhood education, Emily brings a terrific background of classroom and leadership experience to Premier.  Prior to joining Premier, Emily was the center director for a large provider of early childhood education. She also has served as a preschool teacher at an early childhood education center. Emily received her BS degree in elementary education from St. Xavier University, where she graduated with honors. Her passion is early education; seeing the growth and the “aha” moments of the children make the job a treasure. She finds delight mentoring teaching teams to provide high-quality education.

  • Kimberly Hannell Hopkins

    Executive Director – Outreach Development

    Kim brings a unique perspective and background to Premier as she grew up in the world of educating and caring for young children. For more than 40 years, her family built and operated early childhood education centers in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Kim started working in the field during college and has over 25 years of experience as a center and regional director. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree with honors in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Early Childhood Education from The University of Iowa.

  • Dr. Lisa Keiper

    Senior Director, Education and Operations

    During the past twenty years, Lisa has dedicated her professional life to the field of early childhood education. Lisa has held various roles, including teacher, program director, university early childhood program coordinator, adjunct professor, and director of education.  She strives to make a positive impact on the development and learning of our children.  Lisa earned her Ph.D. in Early Childhood from Oakland University and has focused her research on enhancing early literacy experiences in young children, infant attachment, challenging behaviors in young children, and lastly, promoting teacher self-efficacy.  She lives outside of Detroit with her husband and two children.

  • Jenae Kleifges

    Regional Director

    Jenae joined Premier in 2022 as the Regional Director for the Illinois market. She brings more than 20 years of experience in the field of early and elementary education with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University. Her expertise in educational programming, training, leadership, and operations has awarded her various roles including teacher, center director, curriculum coordinator, elementary & middle school principal, and regional field operations manager. Jenae lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Paul, and two young children, Sophia and Emmett. 

  • Holly Abunassar

    Director of Business Development

    Holly has over 25 years of experience in early childhood and elementary education and owned a center in Maryland for 12 years. She has also focused on project management, staff development, and curriculum writing. She holds a BA in Education and History from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Holly lives on a horse farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, with her husband, and they have three children.

  • Rachel Binford

    Director of Business Development

    Rachel has over 10 years of program management, strategic partnerships and development experience throughout her career. Most recently, she held the role of Director of Business Development for an early childhood education organization focused on improving quality in childcare centers across the country. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Educational Studies from Trinity College in Hartford, CT.

  • Jeana Dodge

    Director of Business Development

    Jeana has over 25 years of Corporate and Business Development experience. Early childhood education and employee support are two of Jeana’s passions. She has spent most of her career advising on both, including childcare center development, ongoing support, and program enhancement. Jeana holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Black Hills State University, Spearfish, SD.

  • Elliot Jarvis

    Director of Business Development

    Elliot has almost five years of lower middle market M&A experience. He was most recently an VP of Business Development at a lower middle market buy-side M&A advisory firm. Prior to the buy-side firm, Elliot was part of the business development team at McGuireWoods LLP, where he focused on the private equity and family office sectors. Elliot holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Central Michigan University.

  • Seth Pound

    Director of Business Development

    Seth has over 10 years of Corporate and Business Development experience leading teams in various industries to deliver on key growth goals. He has worked with publicly-traded corporations, family-owned companies, and owners/operators of early childhood education businesses. Seth holds an MBA from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School and a BS with honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

  • Tom Allor

    Director of Acquisitions

    Tom has over seven years of legal and investment experience. Most recently, he was a Director at a private equity firm focused on making litigation finance investments both domestically and internationally. Tom has managed investment processes and navigated complex legal and regulatory matters around the globe.  He holds a JD from the Chicago-Kent College of Law and a BA in Political Science and History from the University of Michigan.

    Tom lives in Chicago with his wife and two dogs and enjoys cooking for friends and family.