Learning center’s new owners hope to build confident students

Feb. 6, 2019

Two sisters who live in the same Tea neighborhood and have 16 children between them are the new owners, along with their husbands, of Sylvan Learning.

Michelle and Bill McGuckin, and Colleen and Scott Halbur took over the business in December, which also has satellite centers in Brookings and Mitchell.

Their husbands have full-time jobs in sales and management, so “it will be a team effort with us in the picture the most,” McGuckin said. She has a background in accounting, and Halbur has experience in human resources, so they see their skills as a great mix. And with four of the McGuckins’ six children in school and six of the Halburs’ 10, the women are well-versed in education issues.

Halbur said the oldest of her 10 children struggled in school because of dyslexia and other learning issues, so she knows what other parents might be going through.

“Finding resources was hard as a parent. When you get that report card or information from the teacher, you feel helpless. You don’t know who to talk to.”

Sylvan Learning can help, Halbur said. “And if we can’t help, we can give you a jumping off point to find someone who can.”

The center focuses on tutoring for math and reading but also teaches study skills and provides ACT prep courses.

“We give kids the tools to learn,” McGuckin said. “In addition to math and reading scores improving, they also become confident learners. Even when they meet their goals, they can move ahead in their other subjects at school.”

Halbur said she also sees a long-term benefit to the tutoring.

“We help your child to be a confident learner because that’s what will help them throughout life.”

The new owners kept the staff that former franchise owners Bill and Connie Kiecksee had built. Sylvan employs three full-time employees and more than two dozen teachers who work flexible hours.

The franchise has been in Sioux Falls for more than 20 years.

Learning center’s new owners hope to build confident students

Two sisters who live in the same Tea neighborhood and have 16 children between them are the new owners, along with their husbands, of Sylvan Learning.

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