Sylvan learning

Hana Escovar and Amber Castillo announce the opening of a new Sylvan Learning Center at 1137 Aviation Blvd. in Hermosa Beach (Photo courtesy Castillo)

Single mother Amber Castillo was at a crossroads.

The U.S. Air Force Veteran had left her job 12 years teaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District and was looking for a way to support her family. And, she wanted to be a role model for her three children.

"I wanted to do something that I was excited about," said the 16-year South Bay resident.

She found that by recently opening the first Sylvan Learning franchise in Hermosa Beach.

With leadership and management experience from her years as an Air Force logistics manager and with a master's degree in human relations, Castillo found the right fit.

But perhaps the most important reason to open a Sylvan franchise, she said, was her love of helping and education.

“I knew my passion was in helping others," said Castillo. "So, I looked at different successful tutoring franchises and loved Sylvan because Sylvan truly loves education like none of the others.”

Initially, Castillo considered Sylvan along with Kumon and Mathnasium, but although math is her favorite teaching subject, Castillo ultimately decided on Sylvan.

“Choosing Sylvan was a big discovery process,” she said.

Castillo said Sylvan's biggest draw was their educational leadership on a national level.

“They lead their curriculum development, assessment, and delivery for the entire franchise," said Castillo. "They work with the best and most current research and technology. They understand what motivates children of all ages and how to help them achieve their goals. Sylvan supports the selfless, hard-working teachers and schools, and is big on being involved in the community.” 

The fact that Sylvan Learning is celebrating its 40th year, and she found they were rated a solid “number one” in tutoring also convinced her. 

“It was my first time running a business and I’m doing it all on my own, so I wanted the support and experience of a successful franchise,” she said. “For all of these reasons, I chose Sylvan as my next step for my family, my community and myself.”

She loves the personalization the Sylvan method offers, noting the company’s motto is “learning should be personal.” 

Castillo said the Hermosa location will be staffed with three California-credentialed teachers and two engineers, one of whom is still completing her degree.

"Two have doctorates, and two have master’s degrees," she said of her staff. "I don’t think you’ll find this level of educator at many tutoring centers.” 

She adds that she loves working with children, and is devoted to the 3 to 1 tutoring model that Sylvan supports. Her own three children, two in high school, one age 5, will also attend her center.

Sylvan Learning Hermosa Beach

1137 Aviation Blvd, Hermosa Beach, CA

(310) 341-3137 

For more information, visit:

*Updated Sept. 26 to reflect Castillo taught in LA Unified, not Torrance school district and that one of the engineers is still working on her degree.

Contact Lisa Jacobs or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

Load comments