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Webinar Recap: New Year, New Career with Mathnasium Learning Centers

In a recent webinar, two Mathnasium franchise owners shared how they found their passion and purpose through their involvement with the leading math tutoring franchise.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 4:16PM 02/27/24

In the world of franchising, success stories often emerge from unexpected beginnings. Mathnasium, the math tutoring franchise with over 1,100 units around the world, has no shortage of franchise owners from diverse backgrounds. And while they may have each followed a unique path to entrepreneurship, they all share one common trait: a deep passion for the brand. 

In a recent webinar, 1851 Franchise spoke with Chief Development Officer Kevin Shen; Sherman Oaks, California franchisees Barry and Lorye Weiss; and East Appleton, Wisconsin franchisee Ellen Wheeler to learn more about why the time has never been better to consider a new career with Mathnasium.

Ellen’s Story: A Mother’s Entrepreneurial Journey

Ellen Wheeler’s professional path into the world of Mathnasium actually began with a personal quest to support her son's mathematical struggles. A marketer with a successful career, she had spent 21 years in the consumer packaged goods industry at Kimberly-Clark. However, when her son's educational challenges led her to discover Mathnasium, her life took an unexpected turn.

”My son has a neurological disorder, and one day we were at the Mayo Clinic when a neuropsychologist asked if we had a Mathnasium Center near us,” said Wheeler. “My son had always struggled in math — we had tried private tutoring and hiring extra help, but nothing was working. The neuropsychologist had seen a number of patients see significant gains in their understanding of math, and the one thing they all had in common was that they had all attended Mathnasium in their hometowns. To me, that was more than enough reason to look into the concept.”

Initially, Wheeler wasn't actively seeking a franchise opportunity, but the positive impact she witnessed in her son and the statistical gains achieved by students enrolled in Mathnasium programs intrigued her. As an entrepreneur and a mother, Wheeler recognized an unmet need in her community and felt compelled to make a difference.

Wheeler opened the doors of her East Appleton Mathnasium franchise in 2018 with seven students and two instructors. In the five years since, she says the center has seen significant growth. Overall, Wheeler’s dedication to improving math education in her community and her ability to balance business ownership with family life exemplify the qualities of a successful Mathnasium franchise owner.

“It has been an amazing experience thus far — I really wish I would have done it sooner,” said Wheeler. “I am a single-center owner, and I am happy with that. I have a beautiful ability to run a successful business, but I still get the warm feeling of making a real difference for families.”

Barry's Story: A Unique Path from Animation to Education

Barry Weiss’ journey to becoming a Mathnasium franchise owner is another testament to the unexpected twists and turns that life can take. Before Weiss joined Mathnasium, he was a Senior Vice President at Sony and is a current Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His wife, Lorye, began her professional career as a preschool teacher and is also an accomplished and published chef. The couple now owns a successful Mathnasium in California.

Barry’s career in animation led him to become a mentor and educator, collaborating with universities worldwide to develop animation curriculum. While his path seemed firmly rooted in the world of entertainment, destiny had other plans for him.

“I realized I had accomplished everything I wanted to in that industry,” Barry said. “I was looking around for what I could do next, and I was very experienced with Mathnasium through connections. I was able to acquire an existing learning centers in Sherman Oaks. I took math in college, but I probably couldn’t pass the eighth-grade assessment. What I did have, though, was a background in creating cultures where people could thrive.”

Barry's passion for education and community impact ultimately led him to embrace the Mathnasium franchise in 2016. His ability to create a culture within his center, foster connections with his local community, and provide opportunities for students mirrors his earlier success in the animation industry.

Thanks to the support Mathnasium provides, and the franchisor’s evolution over the years, Barry says he has the platforms and resources he needs to thrive, so he can focus on the aspects of the business that he’s most drawn to.

“Mathnasium was a good choice for me because what ‘makes me tick’ is the mentoring aspect and setting people up for success,” said Weiss. “When I was in animation, people would always ask me, ‘What do you get out of this?’ What I got out of it was taking an entry-level animator to an Academy award-winner. Mathnasium gives me that same satisfaction.”

Weiss looks forward to continuing growth with his franchise, working to become a “super center” for families in the area. As he approaches retirement, he hopes to pass the business down to his son to maintain a family-owned-and-operated business. For any entrepreneur considering a similar pathway, Weiss’s advice is to focus on your values as opposed to your resume or academic history.

“We are changing people’s lives on a day-to-day basis. We watch kids change over the years,” he said. “To be successful in this franchise, you have to be very emphatic. Forget about your background. The mindset has to be, ‘How can I change the lives of kids for the better?’”

The Strength and Support of the Mathnasium Franchise Network

The stories of Ellen and Barry serve as inspiring examples of how individuals from diverse backgrounds can find purpose and fulfillment through Mathnasium's proven franchise opportunity. And with the private tutoring market expected to be worth $290.8 billion by the year 2030, the time has never been better to dive in head first.

“Mathnasium stands out as a franchise for several reasons,” said Shen. “One of our key strengths is its well-established systems and support network. The franchise provides comprehensive training and a detailed operations manual that helps franchisees navigate the world of math education.”

Another unique aspect of Mathnasium's franchise system is the collaborative community it fosters among franchisees. Despite being independent owners, franchisees actively support each other. This sense of unity is not only beneficial for individual businesses but also contributes to building the overall brand recognition.

Both Ellen and Barry mentioned the willingness of other franchisees to share knowledge and experiences. Whether it's sharing ideas, assisting with staffing or even helping with events, the Mathnasium community thrives on collaboration. This spirit of cooperation is a significant advantage for newcomers, as it provides them with a wealth of insights and resources.

As a result, both franchisees emphasized that while a strong math background is beneficial for instructors, it's not a prerequisite. The Mathnasium training program equips instructors with the necessary skills, allowing franchisees to focus on finding individuals with excellent interpersonal skills.

“We’re very passionate about furthering education, but our model offers so much more,” said Shen. “For investors, this is a great way to get a better work-life balance while doing something meaningful. We’re open to talking to anyone who wants to start their own business and is passionate about connecting with their community and helping students gain confidence through education.”

In conclusion, Mathnasium offers a unique franchise opportunity for individuals interested in education and community-building. With a proven system, a supportive network of franchisees, and a commitment to adapting and innovating, Mathnasium stands out in the world of franchising. 

As it grows, Mathnasium is focused on reaching 1,500 open units by 2028. Expanding both in the U.S. and major international markets like India and the Philippines, the franchise has already exceeded its growth goal for the year, signing over 70 new franchise agreements, and is on track to continue along its impressive growth trajectory in the upcoming years.

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