Neil and Jane Yaeger’s journey with Lightbridge Academy began when the Virginia Beach residents reached a point in their careers where they were finally prepared to scratch an entrepreneurial itch that was years in the making. In search of a business ownership opportunity that engaged Neil’s sales and marketing background as well as Jane’s 15 years of experience as a third grade teacher, the couple set their sights on educational enrichment and shortly thereafter, stumbled upon an intriguing lead: a franchise opportunity with Lightbridge Academy.
“I’ve always been inspired by my wife’s passion for teaching, so the idea of getting into business for ourselves in the field of education was very exciting for us,” Neil said. The pair liked the structure a franchise would give them right off the bat, and their research into the brand was turning up overwhelmingly positive results. The Yeagers connected with the Lightbridge Academy leadership team and eventually headed to Discovery Day in New Jersey. “That experience was the deciding moment for us,” Neil said. “Everyone on the leadership team was so warm and welcoming.” Before long, the Yeagers had signed on to open Lightbridge Academy’s first center in Virginia Beach.
Jenelle Tuttle, a Lightbridge Academy franchise business coach for the past two years, worked with the Yeagers through the entire opening process. “Jenelle was incredibly helpful along the way,” Neil said. “She made a few trips out here to to provide assistance and support in the real estate acquisition and hiring process for our center,” he added.
Those trips wouldn’t be the last time Tuttle made an appearance at the Yeager’s Virginia Beach Lightbridge Academy. She and the rest of the Lightbridge Academy leadership team decided to rent a bus and travel six hours from their New Jersey headquarters to Neil and Jane’s center to show support at their grand opening.
“As a team, it was the first time we did something like that,” Tuttle said. “As our first center in Virginia, it was a special milestone and I’m so glad that we took the opportunity to make the trip. Seeing the Yaegers’ reaction when our bus pulled up was priceless and so heartwarming,” she said.
“It was so special to have 13 members of the corporate team on site for our grand opening,” Jane said. “That showing of support really reaffirmed our decision to choose Lightbridge. Their whole team buys into the Circle of Care philosophy and it’s been inspiring for us as franchise owners.”
The corporate team’s visit was the cherry on top of an excellent grand opening for the Yeagers. Since their center opened its doors that day in May, the Yeagers have seen an incredible response from the Virginia Beach community. Their talented team of educators includes their 20-year-old daughter, who is in school to become a special education teacher. “Neil and I are both incredibly passionate about seeing our students excel and being able to spend a lot of time at the center as a family has been my favorite part since opening,” Jane said.
The early success of the Yeagers’ Lightbridge Academy center has led Neil and Jane to aspirations of opening another unit in Virginia Beach in the future, but as for now, the couple plans to continue pouring their heart and soul into serving their students and the community for years to come.
“The Yaegers are excellent role models and are exactly the kind of franchisees Lightbridge Academy seeks out,” Tuttle said. “They treat everyone with the utmost respect and professionalism and are extremely business-minded. Their center is already growing rapidly and they’re just scratching the surface of success,” she said.