Co-Owner & President
“It’s all about giving children a strong foundation emotionally, physically and academically so they’re eager, confident, and beyond ready for that next step – whether it’s public or private school.” - Erin Racca
That’s how Erin Racca sums up her life passion – and she’s making it real for countless children and their families as the Co-Owner and President of The PREP Schools – a private preschool she’s launching in Austin to give children a jump start on their future.
Erin brings a wealth of experience to The PREP Schools – having successfully introduced, grown and led three nationally recognized preschools in Houston – centers that served a total of 600 children and their families, employed nearly 100 people.
It all started in the mid ‘90s when Erin – a mother of two at the time — recognized an unmet need in the market – namely a preschool that offered more than just daycare. “There weren’t any facilities in the surrounding community that focused on education,” said Erin. “We wanted that for our children – and we were driving miles away to ensure they got that foundation in life.”
And her children did get that foundation in life closer to home – thanks to Erin – who switched gears career wise to see that it happened. Erin earned her Childcare Director Certification as well as her Child Care Owner Certification shortly thereafter and bought into an existing preschool model in her mid-20s– becoming one of the youngest franchisees in her franchise system ever approved to own and operate a center. Moreover, she opened the parent company’s first location in Houston – followed by two additional schools in the subsequent years.
Erin built these facilities up to capacity in terms of enrollment – all while earning high-ranking school certifications, accreditation scores and awards from the corporate office.
Erin’s preschools also became a benchmark for other centers within the franchise system – as she experienced exceptionally low employee turnover ratios – a rare occurrence within the industry. Erin says she never lost sight of teacher and staff appreciation. “Obviously I took care of our employees monetarily – but what’s equally important is that I took care of them emotionally,” said Erin. “I truly cared about the people that worked in my centers, and I made sure they knew how much I appreciated them each and every day.”
It didn’t take long for people within her organization and the community to take notice. Erin received the highly coveted Presidential Award from the franchise company in 1999. She was soon elected by her fellow franchisees to serve on the parent company’s Advisory Council Board – an entity that she assumed the helm of as the Council President a few short years later. She was also recognized by her local community with the Fort Bend County as a “Woman of the Year” nominee in 2001.
Of all her career accomplishments, Erin says she’s most proud of building her preschools up from scratch and transitioning them to high-producing schools with outstanding reputations for education within the community. “I had wait lists with parents wanting to enroll their children into my centers,” said Erin, noting she oversaw virtually all parts of the day-to-day business – from operations and development to hiring and training. “The word was out in the community that we were the best preschool in the area for learning – and that was certainly a high point for me.”
When asked what’s the most rewarding aspect of working with children, Erin says, “This is a time when a child’s brain is developing… when a child’s language is developing. It’s simply wonderful to be in a position of making a difference in a child’s life at such a young age — ensuring they’re prepared, ready and self-confident as they enter that next early chapter in life.”
In commenting on her own journey, Erin says, “I always knew I was a giving person – but I had no idea that entering into the childcare business would open up the floodgates. I’m so passionate about it. I love the children. I love the families. I want to give as much as I possibly can to these children and their families in terms of building a better and brighter future.”