Q&A with Stephen Dixon
Our team at Franchising USA had a chance to sit down with Stephen Dixon, Chief Development Officer for Children’s Lighthouse, to learn more about the growth and success of this organization.
Our questions are in bold. Hope you enjoy reading.
What were you doing before you became involved with Children’s Lighthouse Learning Centers?
I joined Children’s Lighthouse in April 2010 as Director of Franchise Development. Prior to this, I served as Regional Sales Manager at Authoria for a year. In my early career, I held the Director of Franchise Development at Gold’s Gym International position and before that, I was the Franchise Development Director for Nick-N-Willy’s Pizza Franchise Company. I had such passion for franchise development and education, that I knew Children’s Lighthouse would be the perfect fit!
How does your background apply to your current role at Children’s Lighthouse Learning Centers?
I joined Children’s Lighthouse with nearly 20 years of experience in franchise development, which has given me much exposure into the industry and helped prepare me for my current role. My professional business background has aided in managing and leading all aspects of awarding new franchise agreements, marketing of the company’s franchise opportunities, legal compliance and other responsibilities.
How does Children’s Lighthouse Learning Centers differentiate itself from other early childhood education concepts?
Children’s Lighthouse Learning Centers is unlike other concepts. We provide a safe and secure environment that gives parents peace of mind. Our integrated learning strategies focus on students’ intellectual development, as well as on social, emotional and physical growth through hands-on lessons and embedded content, which emphasizes the fundamental basics of phonics, reading, math, science and social studies. We also offer specialized services for families such as online video links to classrooms, computerized building entry, security monitoring, and transportation to and from area elementary schools. Likewise, we also like to emphasize that learning is fun. Our centers offer ten individual classrooms, covered play areas and a splash pad! Finally, our franchise company is family-owned by operators that have over 20 years of day-to-day child care operational experience.
Can you share more about the brand’s comprehensive curriculum?
I’d be happy to! Lighthouse C.A.R.E.S emphasizes hands-on focused learning through the use of the Circle Time Learning Wall, individual and group lesson plans and “Centers that Shine” classroom learning center activities. The most recent addition to our curriculum also highlights STREAM-based learning activities, which focus on a variation of the widely recognized “STEM” approach to education – Science, Technology, Reading, Arts Engineering and Mathematics. We added this second phase to cover the entire spectrum of a children’s development. Likewise, we stress the importance and strength of parent-school communication. We provide parents with weekly information on classroom activities, child development and suggest opportunities for parent involvement. Our goal is to provide children with a holistic approach to learning in a way that is exciting and enjoyable for the child and parents.
Who is your typical franchisee?
We have a wide variety of franchise owners in our system. Our typical franchisee has successful business experience, is passionate about educating children and wants to begin building financial independence after working in corporate America. Usually the franchisee partners with her spouse. Children’s Lighthouse franchisees all believe in the importance of early childhood education and are excited to be with an organization that does just that.
Where do you see Children’s Lighthouse Learning Centers in the next five years? Ten years?
In five years, we plan to have more than 150 Children’s Lighthouse locations open. By 2026 we expect to be close to 400 schools open. Due to our impressive stability, financial strength and franchise company family ownership we are not limited and plan to be sharing our franchise message across the country!