Shining Expansion: Husband/Wife Team Set Mission to Spread Excellence

Education Visionaries Focus on Innovating Teaching Practices, Extending Sunbrook Academy Throughout the South

April 01, 2010 // Franchising.com // ATLANTA – For over 20 years, Sunbrook Academy has educated thousands of young children in surrounding Atlanta suburbs, relying on its Foundations™ Learning Program and customized learning approach that focus on laying the groundwork for lifelong success. Now, with the second-generation husband and wife entrepreneurial team Neil and Jacki Gass at the controls of the company, the eight-unit Sunbrook Academy franchise brand will focus on extending across Georgia and throughout the Southeastern United States.

Formed in 1990 by industry pioneers Nicki Aronson and Janice Cuevas, the first Sunbrook Academy opened its doors in Powder Springs seeking to create a superior learning environment for young minds. From those humble beginnings, Sunbrook has followed a mission and created a culture centered on making a difference in the life of each and every Sunbrook student.

While still involved in an advisory role, the founders handed the business off to family members Neil and Jacki to progress the systems, practices and concept forward. Active educational leaders and visionaries in their own right, Neil and Jacki have spent years leading local and state industry organizations as well as helping to author educational legislation used on both state and national levels.

"Our success is paralleled with the educational and developmental success of the thousands of young children we have served over the years and will continue to serve in the years to come," said Neil, CEO of the growing educational franchise. "We absolutely understand that we are preparing our customer's most precious assets – their children – for future success."

A key differentiator for Sunbrook is its Foundations™ Learning Program which focuses on the appropriate growth and development of the "whole child," including the intellectual, social, emotional and physical domains.

"Our whole child approach helps each child grow and develop in multiple ways which will help them to experience well-rounded successes throughout life," said Jacki, who serves as the company's President. "Couple that with our customized learning approach, which allows teachers the flexibility to tailor educational strategies and activities to meet the needs and desires of the students in each classroom, and you find that we really are teaching young children the way young children learn best."

An additional area of strength for Sunbrook is its focus and keen knowledge of the mechanics of child brain development. Sunbrook's learning programs are designed to create and support the physical changes that occur in a child's brain while stimulated within an age-appropriate and robust learning environment. "Our 'intentional teaching' methods are backed not only by the latest research in early childhood development," said Jacki, "but also by tried, true and trusted learning techniques that have survived the test of time."

Under the Gass' continued leadership, Sunbrook Academy will rely on the dedication and drive of entrepreneurs and early development educational leaders as the backbone of its franchise growth strategy. Leading the initiative is franchising veteran and Certified Franchise Executive R. Scott Sutton who not only recently joined Sunbrook as its Vice President of Franchising, but is also a walking testimonial for the brand.

"My wife and I had a wonderful experience as parents of a son enrolled at a Sunbrook Academy," Sutton said. "Over the years, we have enrolled our children in seven preschool and child care facilities as we moved through several states. Without a doubt, Sunbrook is superior in every facet. It's one of the main reasons I joined the team and it's why I'm excited to help educate our prospects on the value of the Sunbrook opportunity."

Sutton said the ideal Sunbrook franchise candidate is someone who possesses a genuine passion for children, education and business. "Our owners are required to have a diverse range of drives, passions and ambitions," he said. "We are very careful to select the right candidate for entry into our franchise system."

Sunbrook hopes to add up to 10 new locations by year's end, followed by an additional 10 next year. By using a structured growth strategy combined with extensive demographic and economic data, Sunbrook has already identified key markets throughout the southeastern United States that are ideal for new development. They have also created key partnerships with real estate professionals and developers who have extensive hands-on experience with upscale child care development throughout these markets. "We have teams on the ground and ready to go in each of these markets," said Neil. "From assistance with obtaining funding to complete development and marketing support, our development teams have the experience and relationships to make the whole process work as smoothly as possible."

"We don't have to be the biggest provider of quality early childhood education to know that we are making a difference in the lives of the children and communities we serve. Time has proven the effectiveness of our educational philosophies. We just hope to share our educational successes with as many children and parents as possible," Jacki Gass said.

ABOUT SUNBROOK ACADEMY

For over 20 years, Sunbrook Academy has been teaching young children the way young children learn. With its Foundations™ Learning Program, customized learning approach and focus on age-appropriate activities aimed at maximizing early childhood brain development, Sunbrook's students – who range in age from six weeks to 12 years – gain expansive opportunities to develop a well-rounded and life-long love of learning and exploration. Founded by educational pioneers Nicki Aronson and Janice Cuevas, and led by second-generation executives Neil and Jacki Gass, Sunbrook has launched a franchise growth plan to expand throughout the Southeastern United States.

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