Cassandra G. Nelson
Cassandra G. Nelson was born and raised in a small town (Bartow), Florida. She
attended high school at Perth Amboy High School in Perth Amboy, NJ for two
years and graduated. She then attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick,
NJ earning a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Business with an emphasis on microeconomics.
While attending college, each summer Cassandra worked summer intern jobs
at the Department of Navy in Crystal City, Va. Shortly after college she landed
a full time job at the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, DC as an Economist.
There she gained valuable business experience.
She quickly rose to high level GS position providing expertise to revenue
agents seeking arm’s length pricing for good and services provided primarily
by foreign multinational corporations to their US subsidiaries.
Gaining a good understanding of business practices and strategic planning by
the early 1980’s, Cassandra teamed with a good friend, who was a proli_c
pencil artist. She used her business knowledge and skills, along with his talent
and passion for his craft, to start an art business. In two years, they were generating
over ó million dollars in art sales. This was not considered small change
during this period of time.
By the Mid 1980’s John Nelson (Artist) and Cassandra were united as one. John
and Cassandra Nelson went on to birth two daughters, April and Kristyl
Revenue earned from the lucrative art business was invested in Real Estate
and Cassandra created a real estate business. In a span of 5 years, she had
acquired approximately 60 units of apartment and houses in Washington, DC
and the Maryland Suburbs. These properties were owned and managed by
the Nelsons however with the proliferation of drugs and violence in the city
during the early to mid-1990, Cassandra sold most of the properties to embark
upon a life-long passion to work with children.
Shortly after liquidating most of the properties, Cassandra and John used the
proceeds to acquire a failing child care center which was re-named, after
acquisition, to New Horizon Child Development Center, Inc. Soon after acquisition,
the child care was organized as a non-pro_t Maryland corporation. The
business background of Cassandra and the artistic talents of John turned New
Horizon into an instant success story.
With a change in policy and procedures and a new look in the facility, marketing materials, and corporate
identity and branding, the organization quickly grew from 50 children in one location to 600 children in four
locations, 2 in Prince Georges County and 2 in Charles County. This was mainly accomplished with the help
of a motivated sta_ that became renewed by the new leadership of Cassandra and John Nelson.
The primary mission of the organization was to provide quality services to economically disadvantaged and
underprivileged children and families and, to provide them the same level of education and services that a
child and family of a more a_uent community is a_orded.
Cassandra, as Co-Founder and Executive Director took the organization to new heights with the addition of
new programs and community collaborations. Shortly after opening she obtained approval from the USDA’s
Child and Adult care food program for the organization to get reimbursed for all meals served in the center
according to their nutrition guidelines. In addition to child care, she gained approval from the Maryland State
Department of Education to conduct a private certi_ed Kindergarten program. This certi_cation was later
expanded to provide 1st – 3rd grade education that was recognized by any public school in the state of Maryland
as well as nationwide.
Cassandra engaged the organization in numerous collaborations with other community organizations to
provide Head Start in the facility and provide wrap around services (before & after care) for children of working
parents whose work hours extended beyond the head start hours. Other community outreach e_orts
involved partnership with Success in Math Center, Dr. Mary Johnson to provide low cost after school tutoring
services for underprivileged children.
This lead to a major approval from the Department of Education for New Horizon to become a state authorized
provider of tutoring services for underachieving students. This meant that the state funded our organization
to provide tutoring services to those in need. With this funding the organization was able to provide
services to many more students than without the funding.
Another element to achieving the goals and mission of New Horizon is Cassandra’s knowledge and ability to
write grants and proposals. Under her leadership, Cassandra has been able to bring millions of dollars into
the organization which has be instrumental in providing the quality, at a_ordable prices, that New Horizon
has been known for in the community over the years.
The level of quality has been recognized by child care professionals with the achievement of Accreditation
from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). New Horizon was one of only 5%
of child care center in the state that achieved such notoriety.
By 2008, Cassandra and John embarked an opportunity that involved her spending considerable time on the
island of Jamaica. There they used the business skills of Cassandra and the artistic skills of John to develop a
world class boutique hotel resort on the Caribbean Sea. The resort was a resounding success and received
high rankings on popular travel sites such as trip advisor and Expedia.
Cassandra was in the mist of talks with Jamaican authorities to use the resort to bring US day care teachers to
Jamaica to help establish quality child care and train teachers. However, talks stalled after the economic
collapses which a_ected Jamaica more than the US. By 2011 Cassandra relinquish her position with the New
Horizon organization and focused on the resort until a large resort chain bought the resort from them.
Upon her return in 2012, her love for making children and family lives better prompted Cassandra and family
members to form a management company, initially called CCM but later changed to Kiddie University. Collectively,
they will use their knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of existing child care centers and
help others who are interested in starting new quality centers in the community. In addition, they will continue
to build and grow their own child care enterprise.
Kiddie University Capitol Hill was formed in 2015 serve as the prototype of new era of child development with
an emphasis on early childhood STEM, nutrition, and foreign language. The vision is to bring the same level
of program to other less a_uent areas of the District of Columbia.