Many business leaders who want to succeed in their careers are unaware of the importance of compassion. Only a few business leaders are capable of incorporating the concept of compassion into their venture and achieving the desired success. Nancy Boehm, a brilliant businesswoman, exemplifies such characteristics by combining her compassion and entrepreneurial spirit in founding the now globally renowned franchise- Montessori Kids Universe (MKU). Through this venture, she is striving to nurture, inspire and educate each child in every school. She reckons to educate children in all facets of early childhood development through the Montessori methodology.
“We offer enrichment in the arts and sciences, as well as gardening, yoga, foreign language, and cooking,” she emphasizes.
Nancy’s journey started three decades ago soon after completing graduation with a focus on early childhood. She was always keen on searching for a position to launch her career in this particular field. She says, “At that time, I could not find an opportunity that was a good fit.” Being from an entrepreneurial family, she recognized her passion and decide to ‘create her own work’ developing educational pre-schools.
Since then, she has never looked back. Following the success of the first location, she went on to open 19 more locations over the next 20 years, providing care for hundreds of children each day. Currently, MKU has 15 schools operating in 14 states with another 20 under development nationally. In addition, MKU is in development in 13 international countries. She and her team operated many standalone schools; provided before and after school care for a major school district and was the on-site childcare provider for two inner-city hospitals in Pittsburgh Pa. She says, “I believe the biggest adjustment about turning the business into a franchise was the transition to the support and training expert and not the school owners.” With years of experience in school operations, she had to adjust to the fact that these are not businesses to operate but a facility for the children. She feels proud of her franchise owners and loves watching their schools develop with happy children and families. “I believe that smaller ‘mom and pop’ pre-schools are going by the wayside, with many of the larger groups developing across the country,” says Nancy.
“We are in a league all by ourselves in the unique methodology in which we educate our children”
Aiding Franchisees at every step
Many people had approached the company over the years, asking if the MKU could assist them in realizing their dreams of opening a preschool. “At that point, we knew through our consulting and deep experience in the industry, people lives were changed and the idea of franchising was born,” she emphasizes. Most of its franchisees have attended a Montessori school as a child, Nancy claims they have first-hand knowledge of the differentiators between what the company offers and traditional childcare. Thereby, they want to become a franchise owner for their children and community. Additionally, many of its franchise owners have higher-level degrees and understand the unique way the Montessori method follows each child individually.
The franchise costs $64,500. The selection process begins with a detailed conversation with each potential franchisee to learn more about them and what they are looking for in a franchise. “Not everyone is a fit for what we do,” mentions Nancy. The company looks for those with a desire to give back and change children’s lives. Every school in the MKU franchise system is socially responsible. “There are many ways our schools give back, ranging from providing free care to the families of ill children in Ronald McDonald houses, to raising money for St. Jude Cancer Center,” she asserts. Moreover, the company takes pride in excellent customer support and has been recognized by Newsweek Magazine as the #1 franchise in the country in the Best of the Customer Support sector. Once the Franchise Agreement is signed, it begins the training for new franchisees and continues throughout the term of their agreement. Nancy and her team offer many pieces of training in person and virtually on hundreds of topics for school development, management, and operations.
Though there are other similar franchises available in the market, MKU is known to be at the top of the business. “We are in a league all by ourselves in the unique methodology in which we educate our children,” shared Nancy. With the aid of MKU’s software, it develops an individual educational plan for each child; as no two children follow the same path as each child has unique ways of learning and individual needs. “In our schools, each child is guided and evaluated independently for growth and mastery of skills,” she adds. Moreover, the company does a deep dive in assessing the root causes for poor performances then develops an individual plan for remediation. Amazed with such tireless efforts of the MKU team, Nicole—one of the parents of the student, shares, “My daughter is so happy at this school! The owners are amazing and committed to doing things right. The teachers are happy and well cared for, which shows in the care they give the kids. Best decision I’ve made in a long time!”
Nancy believes that first and foremost, to be successful in business one must have a good product; and claims, “our product is the best in the industry, hands down.” The MKU method of educating children, combined with the excellent support that its team provides is the key to the company’s growth and success. Even amidst Covid-19 many of its schools were able to stay open to provide care for first responders. Nancy and her team at corporate connected several times a week with franchise-developed support training and worked hard to keep morale up and doors open. “Luckily our schools were able to ‘weather the storm,” says Nancy. Interestingly, MKU’s schools in 2021 are growing at a fast pace with higher enrolment figures than ever. In the future, the company plans to continue to grow into an organization and provide the highest level of customer support. After a 3-year development process, the company feels proud to announce that it has launched its own Montessori Teacher Training Institute last year. “This online training is open to the public and offers Montessori teacher training in two levels; Primary (3-6 years) and InfantToddler (0-3 years),” says Nancy. Magali a parent of 16 months old values the education her child receives at the school and asserts “we enrolled our daughter when she was 16 months old. She truly thrives here. I am amazed at how much she’s learned in a year. The environment is calm and inviting and the teachers are absolutely wonderful. MKU offers a variety of activities and events throughout the year.”
To conclude, Nancy feels obligated to emphasize the phrase “those who follow the systems we teach are successful,” which has served as a vertebral for franchisees to achieve success. The company is eager to welcome new family members and is proud to support local and national charitable campaigns.