The fast-growing early education and child care franchise Lightbridge Academy has promoted two of its longstanding executives to senior positions. With 40 open locations across four states, and 106 total locations sold across nine states, the brand has laid the groundwork to accelerate growth with the leadership of executive team members focused on operations and franchise development.
Joanne Sofia, former Vice President of Operations for company centers, has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Operations, a role in which she will oversee both the company and franchise centers. Sofia possesses over 20 years of franchising experience. Prior to joining Lightbridge Academy, Sofia worked for Wilton Industries, a consumer product company valued at $150 million, overseeing the brand’s educational program with a focus on retail customer experience and quality. In the educational sector, Sofia spent 12 years at Huntington Learning Centers overseeing 33 corporate and 300 franchise centers. Her proven track record in franchising and success operating Lightbridge Academy company centers will create greater consistency, efficacy and quality as the brand continues to expand across the United States.
Mark Mele, former Senior Vice President of Franchise Development, has been promoted to Chief Development Officer. Mele and his team will continue to partner with new franchisees, assist them in finding viable sites and guide franchisees through the construction process. Under Mele’s leadership, Lightbridge Academy has expanded from four states to nine states and opened 13 new centers. Prior to his successful experience at Lightbridge, Mele earned 30 years in the franchising industry, holding positions in well-known education and enrichment franchise brands such as Kumon and Huntington.
“Lightbridge Academy is experiencing exciting growth for a standout 2019, and I’m looking forward to continuing to build momentum in my role as Chief Development Officer,” said Mele. “What I love most about leading franchise development for a values-driven brand is our focus on adding people to our family that are committed to delivering high-quality care to everyone in our Circle of Care, including teachers, children, families and the community.”
Founder and CEO of Lightbridge Academy Guy Falzarano said that both Mele and Sofia’s promotions demonstrate how the brand lives out its Circle of Care values.
“Our executive leadership has the depth of experience to drive our expansion strategy forward, provide exceptional training and support to franchisees, and exemplify our unflagging dedication to the Lightbridge core values,” said Falzarano. “Mark and Joanne are part of our exceptional leadership team, and their growth demonstrates our commitment to providing care and support at every level of our organization.”