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East County Friday, Jun. 3, 2022 4 months ago

Kiddie Academy of Lakewood Ranch undergoes new ownership

Lakewood Ranch's Melodie and Sanddy Marchena are ready to make impact at Kiddie Academy.
by: Liz Ramos Staff Writer

Lakewood Ranch’s Melodie Marchena remembered being in middle school in Jersey City, New Jersey, and having trouble with math. 

Any time her teacher would ask a question, Marchena recalled shrinking in her chair so she wouldn’t be called upon, and her teacher noticed.

Marchena said the way her teacher went out of her way to help made a great impact.

Now as the new owner of Kiddie Academy of Lakewood Ranch, Marchena wants to be a part of those moments that make an impact on her students’ education. 

“It’s amazing to see a child grow, develop and learn new things,” Marchena said. “Just like a parent has a huge impact, the teachers have impacts on the children and they take that with them throughout their life.”

After 14 1/2 years, Marina Wolf-Schmidt and her husband, William Schmidt, who are the founders of Kiddie Academy of Lakewood Ranch, decided they wanted to retire. 

“We are in our 60s, and we looked at some of our friends and family members who did not make it to retirement due to health issues,” Wolf-Schmidt said. “We said we want to enjoy it. We don’t know what the future holds, and we wanted to start our retirement a little bit earlier than the norm of 65.”

Melodie Marchena and her husband, Sanddy Marchena, officially took over as the new owners May 20. 

The Marchenas come from New Jersey where they own Kiddie Academy of Cedar Knolls. 

Wolf-Schmidt said the Marchenas' experience eased her worries about leaving. 

“They’re going to be such a great match for our school,” Wolf-Schmidt said. “As something we built from the ground up, it’s important for us that we have the right owner. They have the experience. They’re younger than us. They’re going to bring the center to the next level.”

Melodie Marchena looks forward to knowing the families at Kiddie Academy of Lakewood Ranch and learning the needs and desires of the staff. 

The Marchenas are considering capital improvements for the school, and that includes a new playground area. 

“We look forward to building upon what (Wolf-Schmidt and Schmidt) have already done and continuing to improve the curriculum and the building over time,” Melodie Marchena said. 

Wolf-Schmidt said she and her husband will miss being a part of Kiddie Academy of Lakewood Ranch, and they’re grateful for the time they’ve had at the school. 

“It’s been such an amazing experience and such a great opportunity to put our center in a community that’s growing,” she said. “It’s just amazing the friendships we’ve established in the community and people trusting us with their children.”

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