ABOUT OUR FOUNDERS
Roberto Ortega, his wife, Candy, and a group of investors and educators opened the first KLA School in Bellevue, FL, in 2008. For Roberto and Candy, the desire to provide inspiring curriculum, a nurturing environment, and high quality education to pre-school students across America was deeply rooted.
Roberto, KLA Schools CEO, inherited his passion for education from his grandfather who served as Ecuador’s Minister of Education and opened two schools of his own in Guayaquil, the country’s largest and most populace city. Candy, KLA Schools Educational Director, grew up in Argentina and Brazil and came to the US in 1994. She earned an Associate’s Degree in Child Development and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, and began her education career as a pre-school teacher at a Reggio Emilia inspired school.
Candy and Roberto have attended several Reggio Emilia conferences and study groups in the US and Internationally. Additionally, they have participated in the National Association for Education of Young Children Conference (NAEYC) in Chicago 2009, Aneheim 2011, Orlando 2011 and they also have attended the 4th NAREA Summer conference Boulder, Colorado 2008, the 6th NAREA Summer conference Chicago, Illinois , 7th NAREA Summer Conference Pacific Grove , California , 3rd NAREA Winter Conference Mountanview , California among others.
With both the vision and the resources to create a national network of Reggio Emilia inspired schools, the founders began the KLA Schools Franchise Program in 2009. Jim Steger, a franchise industry veteran, joined the KLA Schools team to consult on developing the franchise model. In 2010, Jim became Director of Franchising, putting his 20 years of sales, marketing and management experience directly behind the expansion of the KLA Schools franchise.
To accelerate expansion of the KLA brand, our founders, Roberto and Candy Ortega, will fund and own our newest venture, KLA School of Walnut Creek, CA. This is a unique leadership decision to imprint their management and operating philosophy on the brand as we expand west from our Florida headquarters.