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Lightbridge Academy to Open its First Location in Tennessee with Plans to Continue Expansion Across Booming Nashville Market

Lightbridge Academy, a values-driven early education and child care franchise, heads inland from its base on the East Coast to bring considerate, compassionate care to the community of Gallatin, Tenn.

By Alex Lockie1851 Franchise Editor
Updated 4:16PM 05/13/21

Lightbridge Academy, an early education and child care franchise with more than 100 locations open or in development, is coming to Nashville, Tennessee with new franchise owner, Grayson Education, bringing the brand to a booming new market.

As one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., Nashville is changing daily and attracting new families by the hundreds. But according to the team, the city hasn’t kept up with demand for child care.

“From a business perspective, the Nashville metro area is growing at lightning speed. The housing market has kept pace with growing demand, but everything else hasn’t,” Charles Johnson, one of partners in Grayson Education said. “Quality restaurants, quality schools — nothing has kept up with demand.”

That’s where Grayson Education, based in the Nashville area, looked to Lightbridge Academy as a way to bring their vision to reality. Grayson comprised of a partnership of friends and family members who all share one thing in common: a love of children and education.

“Our whole team loves and adores children. We all have children, and some of us even have grandchildren,” Johnson said. “We want to impact the lives of children from an early start with quality education and socialization through a nurturing learning environment.”

So when Charles and wife Eilleen found their daughter on months-long waiting lists for preschools in Gallatin, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, they joked that they might as well open their own. The rest is history.

The team looked at a number of child care and early education franchises, but ultimately landed on Lightbridge Academy due to the company’s extensive training and support system, as well as its core values.

“Lightbridge’s philosophy of enriching children’s lives goes hand-in-hand with our values and beliefs,” Eilleen Johnson, who will run day-to-day operations at Lightbridge Academy’s Tennessee locations, said. “As I go through training courses to immerse myself in the brand, I am learning more about the company and what it stands for. I’m thrilled to bring this offering to the Gallatin community. As a former IT consultant, I am excited about Lightbridge’s technological innovations and will strive to put processes in place to enable teachers the time to focus on their children.”

Lightbridge Academy takes children as young as six weeks old through pre-K and even school aged children for summer camp, so it’s critical they earn the trust of young parents. Lightbridge does this by increasing communication and transparency through the use of technology to create a strong home/school connection. This appealed to Eilleen’s IT side, along with its Circle of Care philosophy. At the core, this philosophy is to care for children, parents, staff, franchise owners, and the greater community, to feel equally important in the journey through a safe, nurturing child care experience.

Lightbridge Academy CEO Guy Falzarano said that the Gallatin team’s philosophy and approach fit in perfectly with the company at large.

“We’re ecstatic to have the partners join us at Lightbridge,” he said. “Individually, they’re each passionate, accomplished professionals. Together, they bring a community’s worth of experience and care to the task of child care. In a business where people are trusting you with their children.”

“When it comes to education and child care, it's simple. You want to provide a high quality educational program with nurturing care, strong communication, and treat people like family,” said Eilleen. “And that goes hand in hand with Lightbridge’s philosophy.”

Lightbridge Academy has continued to grow amid the pandemic, as child care services became an essential service for many parents forced to work either at home, out in the field, or in an office.

Charles and Eilleen as well as their partners, are looking to establish themselves in the Nashville area for decades to come. By first executing on the shared vision with Lightbridge Academy, they hope to give back to the community in a major way.

“We want to operate four to six schools in the Nashville area while never losing the mission of positively impacting the lives of children and families,” said Charles.

But even before opening the first child care center, they have already immersed themselves in taking an active role to support the local community. Working with the Lightbridge Foundation, they were able to make a donation to Grace Place, to empower single mothers throughout the community.

"We're excited to meet more people and contribute to the community with our first Lightbridge Academy,” Eilleen said.

The startup costs for a Lightbridge Academy franchise range from $549,228 to $737,635. The franchise fee is $40,000. To learn more about franchising with Lightbridge Academy, visit

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