bannerPlayFranchisor Stories

Why I’m Proud To Be a Sylvan Franchisee: Three Franchisees Share Their Stories

Three entrepreneurs share their experiences with Sylvan and why they are proud to be a part of the brand.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSOREDUpdated 4:16PM 06/17/22

Sylvan Learning franchisees may have very different paths to working with the brand, but there is a common thread of commitment to providing educational support, serving students and families, and strengthening their communities. Three franchisees, Michelle WilsonTobin Yoder and Christina Marziale shared their journeys with the brand and why they are proud to be Sylvan franchises.

Wilson explained that she was originally teaching at a Sylvan location in Washington State when the center’s current owner decided to sell. They lived about an hour and a half away from the center, and Wilson said that they just couldn’t give that “local love.” Having worked in college-level academic roles, homeschooling, and most recently as a teacher at Sylvan, she considered purchasing the center. 

“I was extremely scared to become a business owner. I don't have a problem teaching, and I don’t have a problem loving on children of all ages,” Wilson said. “The exciting thing was that it grew me to where I feel more confident to run a business. It grew me as a human being, and I'm really thankful for that.”

Tobin Yoder has been involved with Sylvan, in some capacity, since his high school years; his parents had run a Sylvan center in their hometown. After going to college, pursuing a different career and realizing that it wasn’t his cup of tea, Yoder circled back. As his parents looked to expand to a neighboring town, Yoder agreed to lead the new location.

“I was able to help people. I think, for me, that was the biggest thing. I was finally doing something that made a visible impact on kids and families,” he said. “It’s such a good feeling to be there.”

After experiencing so much joy with Sylvan, Yoder said the choice to continue with the brand was a “no brainer.” He has since taken over both of his parents’ locations in Michigan and has added an additional center in Hawaii, with his wife who he met at a Sylvan conference.

Marziale experienced a similar full-circle moment. She had worked at a Sylvan Learning, left to pursue work in the nonprofit sector, and ultimately returned to the brand. 

“Even when I left and went to the nonprofit field for a couple years, Sylvan was always in the back of my mind,” she said.

Working in the nonprofit sector with underserved populations can be really hard on the heart strings, Marziale explained. With Sylvan, she is able to provide that same support to people in her own community. 

“When you walk into a center, you can just feel it. You can feel the positivity,” she said. “I don’t need to go on a trek to some foreign distant country that needs my help; I can do it right here at home.”

All three franchisees note the community that exists with Sylvan as a major source of pride and inspiration. 

“Sylvan is phenomenal. I’m so thankful. The more I learn of Sylvan and the more I experience of Sylvan, the more I love it,” Wilson said. There is always someone available to answer questions, someone willing to jump in and someone ready to celebrate the wins that students and families experience as a result of their time at Sylvan. “There is a laundry list of stories as to why Sylvan is a phenomenal place to be,” she explained. “The program is already set in place; it’s the people that make all the difference.”

“If you're working another job, it might not give you such a rewarding feeling each day. You think back to those moments and think, ‘Wow, I went to work and made a difference,’” Marziale explained. At her center, the emphasis on spending just a little bit more time on people is clear. Building strong relationships with both staff and clients has played a huge role in the success of the center, especially amidst labor challenges.

To put it simply, “It’s worth it,” Yoder said. “The rewards definitely outweigh the challenges.”

Watch the full video here.

Sylvan Learning Start-up costs range from $85,525-$186,930. Learn more at

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