When Shannon Gehrmann and her husband were new parents, she fell in love with the Goddard School not far from their home in the western suburbs of Chicago.

The school had a waiting list and it wasn't too long before an opportunity to further her career with Target had Gehrmann and her family moving to Woodbury before her first-born ever enrolled in the school.

Now, more than eight years after her move away from the preschool she wanted for her children, the mother-of-three opened the doors to the first Goddard School in Woodbury Nov. 5.

"The fact that we not only get to open a preschool, but open a Goddard School - again, not to sound cheesy - but it's quite honestly kind of a dream come true," she said.

Gehrmann began her college career in education, but said after spending some time in classrooms she realized she had the "heart and passion for teaching, but not the patience."

She began what would become a 14-year career with Target, which eventually saw her reach vice president of stores.

While she loved her work, the extensive travel left her hopeful of an opportunity that would allow her to spend more time with her kids.

"When my husband and I were talking about what do we do, or what do I do, wanting to be with my kids and run a business, I just immediately thought of the Goddard School - eight and a half years ago I wanted one here, let's be the ones to do it for families in our community."

When the school officially opened they had 80 students registered, including her own. At capacity, the school can serve up to 144 students from ages 6 weeks to 6 years old.

Staff includes 16 others and Gehrmann said they had roughly 36 applicants before she ever placed an ad for employees.

"We're keeping high standards in interviewing our teachers, but it also kind of shows the Goddard name a little bit, people just hearing about it and wanting to be a part of it, which is great," she said.

The school, located at 4136 Radio Drive, employs a play-based learning method powered by STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), Gehrmann said, along with a focus on critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration.

This is the sixth Goddard School to open in Minnesota.

For more information visit www.goddardschool.com/WoodburyMN.