MEET THE KLA SCHOOLS TEAM
The KLA Schools Franchise team is a group of highly qualified and trained professionals. Our team is made up of individuals who have been with the company since its start and have a wide range of knowledge and years of experience with KLA Schools and KLA Schools Franchise. Our support team aims to provide our franchisees consistency of programs and services as well as the guidance they need as members of the KLA Schools family.
KLA originated back in 2008 when its first location was opened in Brickell, near Downtown Miami by Candy Arocena and her husband, Roberto. In the years to follow, they proceeded to open a total of four corporate owned schools all located in the South Florida area. With both the vision and the resources to generate a national, Reggio Emilia inspired childcare franchise, the founders created the KLA Schools Franchise Program in 2010. Since 2010, KLA and its founders have awarded more than 15 franchises nationwide.
Chief Executive Officer and President: Roberto Ortega
Mr. Roberto Ortega has been our Chief Executive Officer and President since our formation in April 2008 in Miami, Florida. In addition, Mr. Ortega has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of our Parent since March 2007. He has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of KLA Brickell, LLC, since February 2008, KLA Coral Gables, LLC, since October 2008, KLA Aventura, LLC, since December 2009, RIO Preschools, LLC, since July 2010 and Palmetto Bay Early Childhood Center LLC since January 2016 (collectively, these affiliated entities are referred to herein as the “KLA Schools Affiliates”). He has also served as the President of ROCA Preschools, LLC since September 2011, which is the franchisee of the KLA School located in Walnut Creek, California. He holds these positions in Miami, Florida.
Franchise Development Consultant: Robert J. Kirschner
Mr. Robert J. Kirschner has served as our Franchise Development Consultant since March 2019. Mr. Kirschner is also the Chief Executive Officer of The Kirschner Group, a franchise development consultancy assisting franchisors develop and implement franchise system growth strategies and tactics, a position he has held since January 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to that, Bob was the Chief Development Officer of HR Strategies, Inc., a boutique human resource consulting firm located in Suwanee, Georgia, from November 2016 to January 2018. From January 2014 to October 2014, Bob was Chief Executive Officer of the Franchise PI in Atlanta, Georgia assisting companies to become franchisors. From November 2014 to November 2016, Bob was the Chief Operating Officer at Kids "R" Kids Learning Academies, a national child care franchisor, in Duluth, Georgia. Bob has also held senior franchising, sales, business development, and operations leadership positions with Discovery Point Child Care Franchising, Mathnasium, Textron Financial, Franchise Concepts, Inc, Kraft Foods, Great American Cookies, and Hallmark Cards. Bob works from our corporate office in Miami, Florida and has a remote office located in Atlanta, Georgia.
ROBERTO ORTEGAPresident & CEO
Roberto Ortega is the founder and President of KLA Schools, where he is responsible for the development, operations and oversight of multiple high-performing preschools in the U.S. His scope of work encompasses the growth of the franchise arm of the company as well as the pool of corporate owned locations. Under his leadership, he manages a team of executives and educators with a passion for providing high-quality early childhood education.
Mr. Ortega inherited his passion for education from his grandfather who opened two K-12 schools of his own in South America. Together with his wife they wanted to create an impact in society by providing a high-quality early childhood education program. They knew the key was to have a curriculum suited for the 21st century and they selected the Reggio Emilia Approach hailed by Newsweek magazine as the best in the world.
Prior to KLA Schools, Mr. Ortega was involved in the real estate sector where he was part of a multi-million-dollar real estate development group in the state of Florida. He was part of residential as well as commercial real estate projects ranging from multi-family new development condominium projects, through class A office commercial office space development.
Mr. Ortega has attended several Reggio Emilia conferences and study groups in the US and internationally. Additionally, he has participated in the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference (NAEYC) in Chicago 2009, Anaheim 2011, Orlando 2011, and he has attended the 4th North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) Summer Conference Boulder, Colorado 2008, the 6th NAREA Summer Conference Chicago, Illinois, 7th NAREA Summer Conference Pacific Grove, California, 3rd NAREA Winter Conference Mountain View, California, among others. He is a member of the Florida Association for Child Care Management (FACCM), the largest early education association in the state with approximately 1,200 members. He is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and the International Franchise Association (IFA).
Mr. Ortega received a B.S. in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing & Finance from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Mr. Ortega currently resides in Miami, Florida with his wife and three children.
CANDELARIA ORTEGAPedagogical Director of KLA Schools
Mrs. Candelaria Ortega is the co-founder of KLA Schools. She has been the Director of the first school the company opened in 2008. Mrs. Ortega became the Pedagogical Director of the KLA School Franchise in 2010 to support the corporate owned and franchise centers.
As the Pedagogical Director of KLA Schools, Mrs. Ortega supervises the development and implementation of the philosophy and curriculum of KLA Schools. She is also responsible for the continuous improvement of the curriculum and professional development initiatives. Mrs. Ortega and her team provide the necessary tools and materials to ensure that the students are receiving a quality early childhood education program. Mrs. Ortega is the company spokesperson on education and child-related topics.
Mrs. Ortega earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the Florida International University and graduated Cum Laude. Mrs. Ortega’s lifelong passion has been the education and care of children and as a result she pursued a Degree in Child Development from Miami Dade College and then became a preschool teacher at a Reggio Emilia inspired school. In 2007 she realized her dream of opening a preschool inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education that offered high quality education and together with her husband founded KLA Schools.
Mrs. Ortega has attended several Reggio Emilia conferences and study groups in the US and internationally. Additionally, she has also participated in the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference (NAEYC) in Chicago 2009, Anaheim 2011, Orlando 2011, and she has attended the 4th North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) Summer Conference Boulder, Colorado 2008, the 6th NAREA Summer Conference Chicago, Illinois, 7th NAREA Summer Conference Pacific Grove, California, 3rd NAREA Winter Conference Mountain View, California, 11th NAREA Summer Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Mrs. Ortega currently resides in Miami, Florida with her husband and three children.
JOSE LOORDirector of Marketing
DANA GRIMESDirector of Finance
Mrs. Dana Grimes has been in charge of the Accounting and Finance department of the KLA Schools Affiliates since 2008, and has served as our Director of Finance since November 2008. Mrs. Grimes has more than 15 years of experience in accounting and finance. She has worked in the public and private sector since 2001. She has an Associates Degree in Accounting from Miami Dade College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Florida International University. She provides our staff and franchisees with training and support in the areas of Accounting and Finance. She holds these positions in our corporate office in Miami, Florida.
ADRIANA ORTEGADirector of Admissions
Ms. Ortega has served as our Admissions Director since June 2013. Prior to that, she was a teacher for a KLA Schools Affiliate from August 2011 to June 2013. Ms. Ortega earned a Bachelor’s of Psychology from the University of Miami in 2010 and has held these positions in our corporate office in Miami, Florida.
CLAUDIA CHAUSTREDirector of Professional Development
Claudia Chaustre has 15 years of experience in the learning and practice of the Reggio Emilia approach to education. She was part of L’Atelier School - Miami’s first Reggio Emilia inspired preschool - for 14 years. Throughout this time she was a teacher in the different age groups (0 to 5), a Pedagogical Coordinator, and a Co-Director. Her relationship with KLA Schools started in 2008, by being their consultant during their first years. She joined KLA Schools in January 2015 as a full-time Pedagogical Consultant. Her role is to visit the schools periodically to provide pedagogical support in the Reggio Emilia approach.
GILLIAN GAVURINDirector of Operations
Gillian Gavurin has worked for the KLA Schools Affiliates since August 2013. She started her career as a teacher for children three to four years of age. After participating in projects throughout the school year of 2014-2015 with the marketing department, she became Assistant Director of Marketing in June 2015. She has been working in the education field since 2005, having received her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education in 2008 from Boston University and a dual Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from Touro College in New York City in 2010. She currently holds her position at our corporate office in Miami, Florida.
MARIA JOSE MORLADirector of Branding
MAGDALENA CASTROPedagogical Consultant
RAQUEL ROAAssistant Director of Professional Development
Raquel Roa has 15 years of experience working with children, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Catholic University Andrés Bello and a Minor degree in Early Childhood Education from Metropolitan University in Caracas, Venezuela. She worked for KLA Schools in Doral as a teacher from 2012 to 2015. In November 2017, she became the Assistant Director of Professional Development, where she oversees the pedagogical development. She holds her position at our corporate offices in Miami, Florida.
Over her career, her passion is being surrounded by children, she is a promoter and defender of children’s rights, she firmly believes in them and thinks that if we provide an education of quality we will have a better world because they are the future of our humanity.