In 2002, Patricia and I purchased a second Oxford Learning franchise in Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood. With four years of business management experience under our belts, we decided to split our efforts: I would take care of the Beach location and Patricia would manage our new Leaside centre.
The following year, I opened a third franchise on my own in Toronto’s Danforth area. I hired education directors who could tackle the day-to-day aspects of running the business. Trina has filled this role at the Beach location for the past 13 years, while Rosemary has been at the Danforth for 11 years. Trina and Rosemary are integral to the success of my franchises, allowing me to work on managing the centres. Employing a strong, supportive team has helped me establish a healthy work-life balance for myself. When my son, Gabriel, was born in 2008, I knew my staff could look after the business while I took time off to care for him.
Onward and upward
Since opening our first franchise in 1998, the Oxford Learning brand has grown significantly. Today, there are more than 150 franchises across Canada, plus international locations in the U.S. (where it is rebranded as GradePower Learning), Bermuda, Bahamas, Qatar, the U.A.E., and Kuwait.
I’ve been a member of the Oxford Learning Franchise Advisory Committee since 2005. In this role, I serve as a liaison between the franchisor and franchisees in the system.
Head office prides itself on ongoing education, offering optional courses and webinars to further strengthen the skills of its franchisees, as well as online courses and training modules for new teachers to ensure all staff members adhere to the guiding principles and philosophies.
Oxford Learning is also open to suggestions from franchisees and makes an effort to celebrate the achievements of those working in the franchise system. Two years ago, when Angus Burnett, a beloved high school teacher who had worked at one of my centres for more than a decade, passed away, many of his former students contacted me to say they never would have succeeded in university if not for his patience and dedication. To honour his memory and his commitment to education, I worked with head office to establish the Oxford Learning Teaching Excellence Award. Often, educators forget about the impact their work can have on the lives of their students and, by extension, their students’ families. It is important to recognize teachers who go above and beyond.
These days, I can honestly say I still look forward to going to work every day. After 20 years, I continue to love getting to know our students and helping them achieve great things. Individual challenges vary but, more often than not, students struggle with their self-esteem and self-confidence. Oxford Learning’s philosophy is based on helping student reach their potential through positive reinforcement. As their self-esteem and self-confidence grows, everything comes together and they are able to thrive.
Working with children at my franchise locations has allowed me to use my teaching skills in exceptionally rewarding ways. I’m able to spend extra time with my students and give them the attention they require.
Franchise ownership has also allowed me the freedom to spend quality time with my son. Gabriel has been coming to Oxford Learning since he was a toddler and he loves everything about it. He sees me in my workplace and knows I love my job, my co-workers, and my students. He’s only nine years old and has already told me he wants to work at the centre when he grows up!
I’ve also had the opportunity to pursue a variety of hobbies and interests outside of my career. I’ve taken up cycling and the sport has taken me on several expeditions to Mallorca in Spain. Patricia and I have also started participating in sprint triathlons, which meant I finally learned how to swim. I also enjoy skiing.
I still love learning, too. A few years ago I completed an adult education course in creative writing, which took me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to think of ideas in different ways.
I’ve also started taking piano lessons again and I’m finding the experience much different than I remember. My instructor is very casual with regard to technique. He encourages me to play songs I enjoy, rather than just the classics, and to have fun with the instrument. It’s funny how much more enjoyable learning can be when you’re working with a supportive teacher!
Angela Marseglia is a multi-unit franchisee for Oxford Learning based in Toronto. For more information, contact her via e-mail at email@example.com.
Established in: 1984
Date of first franchise: 1998
Franchised/corporate units in Canada: 120
Investment range: $140,000–$210,000
Initial franchise fee: $40,000