Entrepreneur blends passion for business, education with Sylvan Learning - East Valley Tribune: Chandler

Entrepreneur blends passion for business, education with Sylvan Learning

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Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014 1:30 pm

Kathleen Casprowitz worked in sales for Xerox 30 years ago in British Columbia, Canada, but always had an interest in education.

When she decided to start her own business she bought a Sylvan Learning Center. Casprowitz eventually owned 14 centers in Canada and Washington state before she bought three in the East Valley four years ago.

Casprowitz decided last year to turn her focus to the desert and sold all 11 Canadian centers.

“I’m back in the centers now and I love it,” said Casprowitz, who runs learning centers in Chandler, Mesa and Ahwatukee.

Casprowitz recently was named Sylvan’s Franchisee of the Year for her work in helping develop and integrate the company’s SylvanSync iPad technology that is designed to further engage the learning experience.

“She is an absolute leader in our system,” said Barbara Timm-Brock, Sylvan Learning’s chief growth officer. “Kathleen is very dynamic and is very passionate and intense about education and helping students who need it.”

Casprowitz’s three locations are at Dobson Road and Chandler Boulevard in Chandler, Crismon Road and Baseline Road in Mesa and Ranch Circle North Drive and Ray Road in Ahwatukee.

Casprowitz, 58, does not teach at any of her centers but enjoys testing students to see where they are when they first come in or how far they’ve come.

“I have a business background but I’ve always really enjoyed education,” Casprowitz said. “I didn’t want to be a teacher because I liked business so much, where you’re only as good as your last 30 days. So when I decided to start my own business this was a natural fit. Not too many people get to blend their two passions like this.”

Sylvan has 800 locations throughout North America and touts itself as the leading provider of personal learning for students in grades K-12. Sylvan programs include study skills, math, reading, writing and test-prep for college entrance and state exams.

“We offer the best, most professional supplemental education in the country,” Casprowitz said. “Our curriculum is dynamic and comprehensive.”

Sylvan has six other franchises in the Valley, including two others in the East Valley; one in Gilbert and the other in Mesa.

Timm-Brock said she expects Sylvan to expand its presence in the Valley, and Casprowitz undoubtedly will be part of the expansion.

Casprowitz, who previously was given the company’s most prestigious honor, the Sylvan Way Award, recently forged a working relationship with a Native American tribe in Washington, where she still is part-owner of three centers with her brother, to bring a center to its reservation. Something similar is a possibility here in Arizona, Timm-Brock said.

“Kathleen is a very aggressive marketer who never beats around the bush when she gives you feedback,” Timm-Brock said. “She is honest and direct and an outstanding ambassador for the brand.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6549 or cgabel@evtrib.com.

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