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Gigi Schweikert, Lightbridge Academy’s CEO, Announces Her Vision for the Growing Early Education and Child Care Franchise's Future

Schweikert explains how the innovative early education and child care brand will continue to be the top solution for working parents and their children.

By 1851 Staff1851 Staff Contributions
SPONSOREDUpdated 2:14PM 11/03/22

Lightbridge Academy® — a leading early education and child care franchise with a footprint of more than 140 centers open, under construction or in development in markets across the U.S. — is looking to the future with renewed optimism as it continues to support working parents and their children.

CEO Gigi Schweikert, who previously served as president of the brand for nearly seven years, assumed the role from founder Guy Falzarano in June and has a clear vision for the future of Lightbridge Academy

“With our most recent partnership with Westerly & Elmsley, our desire is to continue providing high-quality care and education for working parents and their children in new markets,” Schweikert said. “We’ve done that successfully in the Northeast and have the opportunity to continue that expansion throughout the Southeast, up and down the East Coast, as well as in Texas. We are looking to open 150 units by 2026.”

“We are continuing to work and implement The Lightbridge Promise, which is the Gold Standard for health and safety in the child care industry,” Schweikert said. “There was an expectation across the country and even globally that September was going to open up to a ‘new normal.’ Many parents are experiencing uncertainty surrounding how to make the transition back to back to work as schedules are changing and companies are asking people to be in the office and people are taking on hybrid work schedules. Amid this fragmentation and uncertainty, we pride ourselves on being The Solution for Working Parents®. Technology is an important tool for creating strong communication and the security they need to provide parents with the peace of mind they need to focus on their day.

Founded on a Circle of Care philosophy that places equal importance on the needs of children, their families, teachers, center owners and the community, Schweikert said Lightbridge Academy is a leading provider of quality child care that supports parents during uncertain times. 

“We are making good on our promise to maintain the highest of health & safety standards. As a brand, we made a major investment installing state-of-the-art air purification and filtration systems in every center, elevating cleaning procedures, children’s drop-off procedures, health screenings and more,” she said.

How Lightbridge Leverages Tech and Funding to Bring Families Closer

Lightbridge has used the pandemic as an opportunity to invest time and effort in technology that brings people together and keeps them safe. Schweikert said Lightbridge plans to expand on its safety protocols and will continue its practice of having cameras in every classroom and the roll-out of facial recognition entry systems. In addition, the Lightbridge Journey® app will serve as an e-communication tool for parents that will allow them to manage their children’s immunization records, pay their bills and access ParentView® Internet Monitoring

“Our core values are something we live out every day; one of these is excellence,” Schweikert said. “We pride ourselves on our high NPS (net promoter score) and generating loyalty with the families we serve. There will always be times of uncertainty. There will always be the need to have open communication, especially with new parents. There may be parents who have concerns and questions. We continue to look for ways to add value and be supportive of their needs and  to figure out ways that we can enhance their experience in our center.”

A vision is just a dream until it’s put into action, Schweikert said, and she’s proud to have partnered with the Early Care & Education Consortium in their common goal of providing equitable and sustainable early childhood education and care for every child throughout the country.

“High-quality care and education is essential for children and families and is the foundation of a strong economy,” she said. “We are going to work globally with all types of providers so that every child can have accessibility. We’re working with government officials to promote what is so important to us: a mixed delivery system of early care and education that really draws on our decades of expertise and existing systems.”

How Lightbridge Is Looking to Its Franchisees to Power the Future of Child Care

In addition to maintaining safety protocols, improving its technology and growing its number of units, Lightbridge Academy has continued to invest in franchisee support. This year, it launched Lightbridge Journey, a new center management software that provides a 360-degree, centralized portal for franchisees, providing increased operational efficiency, reduced operational costs and ultimately improved communication between staff and parents. 

During the initial rolloutthe platform proved its value: It saved 28 centers approximately 336 hours of time over nine months, providing them almost an entire day per week to spend on relationship-building with center families.

“The operations at Lightbridge Academy are so well-designed that owners don’t need to have a background in education or child care to operate it,” said Lightbridge co-founder Guy Falzarano. “We’re looking for solid business professionals with a passion for children and education, who understand the need to support parents and are committed to following the Lightbridge Academy model.”

Looking to the future, Lightbridge has targeted growth across Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

Start-up costs for a Lightbridge Academy franchise range from $581,233 to $784,150. The franchise fee is $40,000. For more information about owning a Lightbridge Academy franchise, visit http:/ or call 732-980-1900 x199.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.