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Former Teacher and Sylvan Learning Franchisee Matt Shea Just Can’t Shake His Passion for Education
Former Teacher and Sylvan Learning Franchisee Matt Shea Just Can’t Shake His Passion for Education

The retired teacher opened his Sylvan Learning franchise in February.

Matt Shea has worked in mapping, real estate and even owns a restaurant.

Still, the former teacher can’t seem to shake the teaching bug.

That’s why he decided to open a Sylvan Learning franchise. His center is located in San Luis Obispo, a city in California’s Central Coast region, and it opened in mid-February, with a grand opening planned to take place in April.

Shea is thrilled with his decision to franchise with Sylvan Learning. The variety of opportunities the education brand will help him and his team provide to students was a huge draw.

“What I liked about Sylvan compared to other brands is that it’s very personalized to each student,” he said. “I also like that they offer a ton of different products, including STEM workshops and college test preparation. There’s also the opportunity to work with younger kids, get students who are falling behind caught up to their grade level, and help kids get ahead. There’s lots of different stuff we can do.”

As a former teacher who taught English, geography and history to middle and high-school students, Shea is well-aware of the issues that plague classrooms, and how some students just need a bit of extra help.

“It always helps to have more personal attention,” he said. “Sylvan is a more personalized approach, rather than having 30 kids in a classroom with one teacher who is trying to get them all to understand the same thing in the same way.”

Shea, who has a Masters in Teaching degree from Concordia University, was already familiar with the Sylvan Learning brand when he decided to franchise. He noted how the brand has changed over the years and how the teaching methods have become more technology-based.

“While I was teaching, some of my students were going to Sylvan after school,” Shea said. “Some kids wanted extra help, and to be honest, some working parents just needed their kids to have a worthwhile activity after school.”

Shea eventually retired from teaching, opting to go back into commercial real estate and development. It was a career he truly enjoyed, one that even had him working on a neat project in Costa Rica. He also opened a restaurant that he still owns today, Chop Street in Pismo Beach.

Still, it wasn’t enough.

“I realized that I had time on my hands and could do something great with it,” he said. “I still had a passion for education, but I wanted a more flexible schedule.”

Ahead of the opening, Shea focused on getting his center up and running, hiring teachers and providing more hands-on training. He even brought on a few students that started getting tutoring at his center before the official opening date so that Shea and his team could make sure they had all of the right tools in place to be successful.  

“We wanted to be 100 percent comfortable when our doors opened,” he said.

He is thrilled to get back into the education game.

“I was always the kind of teacher who wanted the best for my students,” he said. “I’ve always had a passion for education and helping young people gain the skills they need. I believe that Sylvan’s personalized approach to learning can go a long way in helping students succeed in the classroom and for life.”

The startup costs for a Sylvan Learning franchise range from $70,980 to $159,885. The initial franchise fee is $24,000. To learn more about franchising with Sylvan Learning, visit https://sylvanfranchise.com/.

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