Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Rodriguez.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a 35-year-old, wife, mother of six, and an Early Childhood Educator. I began this journey at our local Public High School several years ago…never thinking this is where I would be today. In 2015, I got that “itch” and a little push from some of my high school students that it was time to expand what I was doing and go “bigger”. I knew I wanted to provide QUALITY education to young children in our area, with all the latest technology and challenging curriculums.
It’s funny how life works…I do remember in 2008 when a previous principal of mine told me, “Hey I need you to teach childcare next year.” and I was completely overwhelmed and upset. I thought to myself…THIS IS CRAZY…SO MUCH WORK!!! I remember crying and another very supportive coworker of mine said, “Hey Nik, maybe this is a blessing in disguise…” SURE ENOUGH, he was right. I might not have realized at the time, but in SO many ways it turned out to be TRUE! My journey in teaching Early Childhood Education would pave the way for this now BLOOMING BUSINESS VENTURE. I gained an abundance of knowledge in the field and all my certifications that would set me up to open my own childcare facility.
I must give credit where credit is due…my amazing father, a retired City of Miami Battalion Fire Chief, believed in this crazy idea..and that was that. HE built his daughter a school!
Ron, “Coach” Khawly, (Owner), is a retired Battalion Fire Chief with the City of Miami Fire and Rescue Department where he served for 34 years. He is a certified Paramedic, Fire Instructor, Hazardous Materials Technician, and Technical Rescue Technician. With his dedication and trainings, Ron has served in many training and management positions while with the city.
During his tenure, he has overseen the hiring of over 100 new firefighters and been in charge of 3 fire districts that consisted of 15 stations and 210 firefighters. His leadership and “get it done” attitude also had him assigned as the Chief of Special Operations which put him in charge of managing the HAZMAT, Dive/Underwater Rescue, Technical Rescue, and Fire Boat/Air Truck Teams. From 1991 to 2015 he was also the Task Force Leader for FEMA, and was deployed to many manmade and natural disasters throughout the US and Caribbean.
Even with all these responsibilities “Coach” still found time for the community in other facets. He is a member of Christ Fellowship of the Redlands, and if you name the sport, he has probably coached it. Little League baseball, AYSO soccer, and YMCA flag football have seen Ron on the sidelines. He was the Head Coach for the Westminster Christian Middle School football team, and was a vital member of the South Dade Senior Quarterback club for numerous years. With his retirement from the Fire Department in 2015, his time is now spent watching his grandchildren in sports or enjoying trips.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The biggest struggle was our push to open for the beginning of the school year. After all, this is a business that will flourish best when parents are trying to decide where their children will attend school.
My father worked tirelessly, 10 hour days, 7 days a week in the hot summer sun along with my fabulous staff, volunteering there time to set up furniture, organize, paint, plan, etc. with no AC or electricity. I had no idea how many inspections were involved in getting our certificate of occupancy and all of our licenses.
From a business point of view, I was stressed and very worried we wouldn’t make it and would lose so many of our potential parents. Somehow, everyone pulled through and we made it!!!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with BRICKS Early Learning Center – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We are an Early Learning Center providing care for children ages 1-5. I am the Director of the facility. Family and Consumer Sciences.
I am sincerely proud of my staff members. I do expect quality on a daily basis so, in turn, I do expect a lot from them. My TEAM members have this facility running like clockwork, from learning, extracurricular activities, and physical development. Yes, I am the director, however, without my staff, we would not be where we are today!
As some of our parents say “We are a very homey school” wood flooring, brick fireplace, our admin team knows every family by name, small and tight-knit.
I am actually overstaffed (I know that sounds funny) but I keep my teacher to child ratios tight. We exceed the expectation and regulations of DCF. Technology is built into their curriculums using IPADS and SMARTBOARDS as well as interactive APPS for parents to sign-in and out and communication timelines throughout the day. It’s almost like a mini Facebook for the child’s parent. They get pictures, toilet and diaper changes, as well as mealtime updates and incident reports. Parents are loving it!
We also provide on-site therapies.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We are actually in the expansion process now with our architects. We are just a few children shy of our capacity which I did not expect to happen this quickly! We will be adding a recreational center and more classrooms.
- $145.00 Weekly for One -Year-Olds
- $135.00 Weekly for Two- Five- Year- Olds
- $100.00 Weekly Part Time ALL AGES
- Address: 505 NE 18th Avenue
Homestead, FL 33033
- Website: www.brickselc.net
- Phone: 786-481-2077
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: bricks_elc
- Facebook: BRICKS Early Learning Center