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Why Krista Martin Chose to Partner with Sylvan Learning in New Hampshire and Massachusetts

Martin utilized her extensive experience as a Sylvan Learning Center Director to become a successful multi-unit owner, opening four locations throughout the East Coast.

Many Sylvan Learning franchise owners come from a background in education or start their education career as an employee at a Sylvan Learning center. Krista Martin did both.

“After graduating from college in California, I had planned on building my career in academia,” said Martin. “However, I quickly fell in love with teaching after starting a job as a teaching assistant. I returned to my hometown on the East Coast and began teaching communication within the Virginia Community College system. At the same time, I started tutoring at the Sylvan Learning centers in Martinsburg, West Virginia and Hagerstown, Maryland.”

Martin saw opportunities for the two centers she worked at to partner with high schools in the area and reached out to the franchisee. She soon took over local marketing responsibilities and later moved into the Center Director role for the Hagerstown center. 

“When my significant other needed to relocate to New England for his job, I applied to and was hired for the Center Director position with the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Sylvan Learning center — one of the corporate owned centers,” said Martin. “After two years with the center, I moved into a different role in a different industry and became a customer success manager for a large educational technology company. I grew a lot personally and professionally in that role, but it didn’t have the magic of Sylvan Learning.” 

Around that time, Martin started exploring the idea of becoming a Sylvan Learning franchise owner. Soon, she saw that both the Portsmouth and Salem, New Hampshire centers were available as resale centers. In October 2018, she purchased the two centers along with her partner, Tristan Plummer. In August 2019, Martin and Plummer took over another corporate owned center in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Most recently, in June 2020, they purchased the Brookline, Massachusetts territory which she began running virtually amidst COVID-19.

Because of Martin’s history with the brand, she had long considered herself to be a part of the Sylvan family and knew she’d be able to leverage the brand’s proven business model to succeed. “When I became a franchisee, I immediately started working with my Franchise Business Consultant (FBC) to wrap my head around the current state of my centers and set goals for our sustainability and growth,” she said. “Because of the resources Sylvan provides to the system, I can quickly deploy local marketing plans, evaluate the profitability of current and new services and connect with preferred vendors that already understand the nature of my business. I do not view my relationship with the corporate team as a top-down one. It’s a two-way dialogue about what’s working and what isn’t, and what I need to be successful and what Sylvan needs to make informed decisions for the system.”

Martin notes that the East Coast region has been the perfect place for Sylvan Learning. “The communities where we operate value education,” said Martin. “Just think about the sheer number of colleges and universities within close proximity to our centers. The Sylvan Learning parent advocates for her child and sees Sylvan as a part of a larger support system that includes teachers, coaches and more. The Sylvan parent doesn’t necessarily know what her child needs to succeed, but she does know that resources exist to help her child get caught up, feel more confident and accomplish goals.”

In addition to an increased demand for virtual services, Martin notes that COVID-19 has created a greater need for Sylvan Learning’s social-emotional learning and differentiated education, as those are two aspects of the educational experience that are challenging to provide via remote schooling. Martin is also seeing an increase in the number of families who are considering home-schooling their children this coming year. 

“The three things that make Sylvan Learning different from the competition are the breadth and depth of academic services, the level of personalization and the quality of our teachers,” said Martin. “To the first point, families may initially seek out Sylvan Learning because their children are struggling academically, but many stay because we can give their children the edge through STEM, writing, study skills and test prep services.”

Martin continues, “We have the time, resources and independence at the center to do things that schools may not be similarly equipped to handle. In that way, we are educational partners with schools in the community. We know that learning is not a linear process — that sometimes students have to take a step back to strengthen foundations before they can continue to grow academically. Similarly, we know that not all students learn the same way. Because Sylvan follows a strategy-based approach to learning, we can equip students with a number of tools and strategies for tackling skills and help them to try each one on to find what clicks.” 

Martin and Plummer have been excited to help out their community during this time, recently starting a partnership with the Seacoast United Sports Club (SUCS). In addition, they’ve been featuring a new local restaurant for each center in their online motivation station every two weeks. Students can use their Sylvan tokens to buy gift cards to the restaurants, which helps struggling businesses in the area. 

When it comes to future plans, Martin hopes to set up small satellite centers throughout the Boston/Brookline area once it is safe to do so. While the 100% remote model has been working well, physical locations allow franchisees to better serve all the families in that territory and will also allow them to be incredibly agile in partnering with various schools and organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs.

“Krista truly represents where Sylvan Learning is going as a brand,” said CEO John McAuliffe. “She is rapidly opening new locations throughout the East Coast and is helping communities during a time when students really need that extra support. One of the reasons she chose to franchise with Sylvan was to be able to make a difference, and families across Massachusetts and New Hampshire are certainly benefiting from our programs — virtually now and in-center once we are all reopened. We couldn’t be more proud to have Krista as part of the Sylvan family."

Startup costs for a Sylvan Learning franchise range from $70,270 to $163,625, including a franchise fee of $24,000. For more information about franchising with Sylvan Learning, please visit

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