While Christina Marziale’s career may have taken on several different forms over the past few decades, one thing has remained the same—and that’s her love for seeing students achieve and meet their goals.
During the No Child Left Behind era, she worked for an education nonprofit and traveled to different schools to provide afterschool help. Marziale also worked in Washington, D.C.’s and Baltimore’s public school systems, where she worked with low-income students at under-privileged and under-served schools. In an educational system where many teachers emphasized a one-size-fits-all curriculum, Marziale made it her goal to help struggling students get ahead and stay ahead.
“There are kids of all economic levels, all ages and all races that fall through the cracks as they attend school. It’s so important that we do what we can outside of school to help these families and students succeed,” Marziale said. “Kids could use that extra, personalized help. Many curriculums set forth by schools simply aren’t meeting the needs of every student.”
Eager to continue making a difference in kids’ lives, she learned about an opportunity to join a local Sylvan Learning as its director of education. It was a career move she couldn’t turn down.
“At Sylvan, I saw a chance to continue doing what I love—intervening and helping students reach their full potential,” Marziale said. “In doing my research, it was very clear that Sylvan truly offers the best programs—and they have the data to prove it. The individualized approach was an important thing for me. So many education programs have one universal curriculum. But at Sylvan, we take every single students’ results and create a path that’s unique for them. You won’t find one plan that looks exactly the same. Sylvan truly teaches the student. Other companies make it appear that they do that—but they don’t. This brand’s product was by far better than anyone else on the market.”
As the director of education, Marziale quickly fell in love with the brand. She saw firsthand the impact it was having on students. She remembers one family that had strong concerns that their daughter wouldn’t pass the third grade. She was falling behind in school, and her teachers couldn’t provide the resources needed to help her catch up. That’s when they turned to Sylvan—even after the school said supplemental education programs wouldn’t make a difference.
With Sylvan’s help, their daughter took her third grade assessment and received one of the highest scores amongst her entire class. She moved on to the fourth grade.
“Moments like that aren’t uncommon. And they’re why I get up every single day,” Marziale said.
By 2015, Marziale decided to open up a Sylvan Learning of her own. Realizing a need for the brand’s services in Florida, she moved south to open a center in Lakewood Ranch. This coming August, she will officially celebrate her second anniversary as a franchisee.
“There was nothing like Sylvan Learning in the area, and there was a huge growth spurt as far as young families moving to the area. Schools became over-enrolled. And students really needed an additional resource,” Marziale said.
In particular, Sylvan’s STEM courses were a big draw for families—something that they previously never had exposure to. Demand for these specialized classes was so high that shortly after posting schedules for Sylvan’s summer STEM camp, two weeks have nearly sold out already. And for Marziale, this is just the beginning—she’s already planning the opening of her second location in the year ahead.
“I truly believe that we are the best education service out there. Anyone that would consider a franchise in education would be crazy not to select Sylvan,” Marziale said. “I count my lucky stars every day that I’m able to make a career out of helping others.”