KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
November 20 2019
By Addie Davis
Twenty years ago, Michael and Lou Ann McLaughlin opened their very first Primrose School in Katy. Since then, the couple has impacted the lives of thousands of young people and their families. Today, they are the proud franchise owners of eight schools in the Houston area, with six of them located here in Katy.
Owners Michael and Lou Ann center with their five grandchildren.
Partners in Life and Business
Michael and Lou Ann always knew they wanted to build a business together. Lou Ann was devoted to education and earned her degree in Education from Baylor University before teaching elementary school and gaining a Masters in Educational Administration from the University of Houston. Michael, a businessman, earned his degree in Law and Business from Baylor.
When their children entered high school, they began to discuss bringing their dream to life. The McLaughins’ decision to invest in an early education and child care seemed an ideal way to marry Michael’s passion for business development with Lou Ann’s love of early education and families.
After researching several other childcare companies and meeting with the CEO of Primrose School Franchising Company, the McLaughlins decided Primrose Schools was the best fit for them.
Inspiring a Love of Learning
Primrose Schools is a national family of private accredited early education and care schools across the country. Through their research-informed Balanced Learning approach, they provide meaningful learning experiences for children beginning at 6 weeks of age. Primrose School’s curriculum for infants, toddlers, preschool, kindergarten and after-school inspires a love of learning and empowers children’s potential, preparing them for lifelong success.
“Not only does it focus on the educational aspect of learning, but also on the social aspect,” says Director of Primrose School of Kelliwood Jennifer Beck. “Giving back to the community and people less fortunate year around teaches children at an early age the importance around caring about others.”
Each Primrose school is independently owned and operated by franchise owners, who partner with parents to help children build the right foundation for future learning and life, and offer an environment that helps children have fun while nurturing Active Minds, Healthy Bodies and Happy Hearts.
Though the McLaughlins own nine different schools in the West Houston area, they strive to further develop the school’s curriculum as well as stay a part of the Primrose community.
“The McLaughlins are very involved in every aspect of the schools. They listen to every need of the parents, students, and staff. They are constantly searching for ways to better every campus, and they are the only people I know who even work on vacation. Their hearts are in their schools, and it is so evident,” says Director of Marketing Rachel Williams.
Mr. and Mrs. McLaughlin are the proud recipients of the prestigious Primrose Schools President's Award for outstanding achievement. Lou Ann has served on numerous SACS/CITA accreditation committees and on the Primrose Advisory Council. She is currently serving on the Texas AdvancEd Council representing early childhood interests.
The McLaughlins are extremely hands on and their door is always open,” says Beck. “They will lend a helping hand even in a classroom when needed.”
Pillars of the Community
The McLaughlins’ impact reaches far beyond the classroom. When Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, the McLaughlins answered the call to help their community. Despite their own home flooding, the McLaughlins focused on how they could help others in need.
“Instead of worrying about their situation, they immediately sprung into action,” says Williams.
The couple would be instrumental in orchestrating assistance to affected families, even transforming one of their schools, located just 200 feet from the floodwaters' edge, into a temporary emergency relief facility and staging area for water rescues.
Director of Primrose School of North Mason Creek, Cookie McFarland, called the couple "heartwarming" and said they were a godsend to serve the West Houston Area.
The McLaughlins are active participants in the Houston Children's Fund benefiting Houston's most needy children and have been recognized for their contributions to education.
When the McLaughlins joined the Primrose Schools franchise, there were only 90 schools across the country. Today there are more than 430 Primrose Schools in the United States.
Delivering a superior early childhood program which supports children and their families remains the highest priority for the McLaughlins and their leadership team.
The couple has enjoyed mentoring and making friends with many new owners across the United States as well as expanding their own Primrose family.
The McLaughlins say delivering a superior early childhood program which supports children and their families remains the highest priority for them and their leadership team. They believe their exemplary teachers and strong STEM based curriculum, alongside an excellent character-development program, help children develop a strong self-image and love for learning.
Twenty years after starting their adventure, the McLaughlins show no sign of slowing down. Earlier this year, the couple opened the Primrose School of Midland at Westridge to provide quality child care for local employees of oil companies in the area.
A lot of things have happened in the last two decades for the McLaughlins. They have opened several schools in the Houston/Katy area, as well as the one in Midland. They have witnessed the Katy area expand into the not-so-small town it is today, rescued neighbors from their flooded homes during Hurricane Harvey, and have overseen the educational development for two different generations of students. Most importantly though, they have become the proud grandparents to five adorable grandchildren, two of whom are Primrose students.
To commemorate the McLaughlins’ 20th anniversary, the Cinco Ranch location will host a small celebration Monday, November 25 from 4:30pm to 6:00pm at the Primrose School of Cinco Ranch at 1540 Peek Road in Katy. The staff will wear customized t-shirts, and students will participate in a parade around the playground.
Former Primrose family members (staff and former students/parents) are welcome to join the fun and congratulate the McLaughlins on their milestone.