May 19, 2024 7:29 pm

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Mini Einstein Learning Center holds ribbon cutting for new childcare facility

LYNNWOOD—Mini Einstein early childcare learning center held a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house Friday, April 26, commemorating its brand-new building at 21020 67th Avenue West in Lynnwood. The building will officially open on May 1, after a long, five years in-the-making.

Mini Einstein
Mini Einstein ribbon cutting ceremony on April 26, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“Mini Einsteins is very welcoming, and they’ve been so great with our kids, and are great from the second you walk through the doors,” Mallari, a mother of a Mini Einstein student, told the Lynnwood Times.

The ribbon cutting ceremony began with a few words from owner Samantha Sciacca who shared her gratitude to everyone who helped build the company, from staff, to families that became staff, and her husband William.

“These are the people who are making a positive difference in the world,” said Sciacca. “This is what truly defines our company success…we look forward to your support, your guidance, and we look forward to this new chapter in this company saga with you.”

Award recipients at Friday’s event, honoring key contributors to the building’s success, including faculty members: Ashley Morga, Haley Darrell, Janice Shin, and Amelia Lanseigne.

“These individuals, plus our teachers, have poured our very essence into this company,” said Sciacca about the recipients. “They are the pillars in which this building was built upon.”

In addition to recognizing the award recipients, Sciacca recognized Willie Franklin, a former alumni and parent of four Mini Einstein pupils, who worked on the construction of the new building. His attention to detail, Sciacca said, was paramount even going as far as installing lower-than-usual toilets to be more kid accessible.

Lastly, Sciacca acknowledged JoAnne Nelson, former owner of Brighton School and current owner of the property. The new building is dedicated to Nelson for her “unwavering commitment to putting children’s education first, and for the boundless belief in the power of dreams.”

Nelson shared with the Lynnwood Times that she was “shocked,” but honored, to hear that the building would be named after her.

Mini Einstein
The Mini Einstein building dedicated to JoAnne Nelson (left) by Samantha Sciacca (right) at its ribbon cutting ceremony on April 26, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“I’m the one who is grateful,” said Nelson. “Because having the school needing to leave the building made me sad but knowing that it could still help be there for children and families – that’s the legacy of the building, that’s the legacy I wanted, and I had no idea what it could be.”

The building was built in 1971 for the General Telephone Company. Nelson began Brighten School in 1982, just down the road from the building, and In 1995, she began her search for her own building for her school. She noticed the telephone building was for sale and moved Brighton school in where it operated for the last 20 years before relocating to Mountlake Terrace.

Mini Einstein
The Mini Einstein building dedicated to JoAnne Nelson at its ribbon cutting ceremony on April 26, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Brighton’s relocation left the question of what to do with the vacant building. According to Nelson the “stars aligned” when Mini Einstein was looking for a new space and “the rest is history.”

“When I met [Samantha Sciacca] we talked about the similarities of having this vision and just wanting to make this happen. I did see in her so many things I saw in myself 20 years before and it was so gratifying. I looked at her and said, yeah, she’s gonna make this happen. I could feel that energy in her and knew she was going to work hard and do what she needed to do, but I never would have guessed it’d turn out so beautifully,” said Nelson.

Mini Einstein
Inside Mini Einstein on April 26, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Mini Einstein’s Learning Center (MELC) is a Christian-based early learning center which is veteran-owned and offers discounts for veterans and members of the military. Its mission statement is to: “serve families in the community by providing high quality care for their infants, toddlers, preschool, and pre-k children in a safe, supportive, exciting, and nurturing environment so that they can grow physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually, and will come to understand that they are created and loved by God.”

After Samantha Sciacca, owner of Mini Einstein’s Learning Center, started her teaching career working in the SeaTac public school system which was “eye opening,” she informed the Lynnwood Times. She left the public sector to help build the necessary foundation at a company called Cornerstone.

Mini Einstein
One of the classrooms at Mini Einstein on April 26, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

At Cornerstone, Sciacca filled in wherever she was needed, starting as a teacher for three-year-olds, working as a cook, as a janitor, and eventually Assistant Director and finally Director shortly before getting notice that their building, on 220th in Mountlake Terrace, was set to be demolished. Having nowhere else to go, Cornerstone inevitably shut down after 20 years of operation, leaving its seven teachers, including Sciacca, without jobs, its 30 kids with nowhere to go, and one fewer childcare center in Snohomish County.

Only about 44 percent of childcare need is currently being met in Snohomish County. What’s more, Snohomish County saw a 25 percent drop in its early learning workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sciacca’s husband, William, was deployed at the time with the U.S. Army. She asked him how he felt about opening up a childcare center of their own when he returned and he replied: “sure without knowing what he was getting into,” Samantha joked.

Mini Einstein
Mini Einstein ribbon cutting ceremony on April 26, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“I didn’t have a business degree, all I had was a vision of what I think students need getting into kindergarten — and that’s an education,” said Sciacca. “And all of my teachers [at Cornerstone] said they were coming with me.”

In 2013 the foundation of what was eventually to become Mini Einstein’s started out at Woodway Elementary School, a vacant building at the time, where they had a license capacity of 76 kids. When Sciacca’s husband returned from active duty he assisted with operations and maintenance and from there they grew and grew. Today Mini Einstein’s Early Learning Center (MELC) has 136 enrolled students and operates year-round.

Mini Einstein
Mini Einstein ribbon cutting ceremony on April 26, 2024. SOURCE: Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“Our foundation is really about that education. We start our education at infancy. I have a lot of people discredit that just because a child can’t talk they can’t learn and that’s completely, one hundred percent, opposite. Students can begin to learn at such a young age as long as you give them the tools and the foundation to do so,” said Sciacca.

“That’s what makes us so different. We start so young and every year we’re building on top of each other, by breaking up our classrooms into two separate age groups—a younger and older —so we can hone in on those fundamentals and benchmarks so we’re not moving them too early if they haven’t met those standards, and possibly moving them early than projected because we’re seeing that they’re going faster than the others. We want to keep challenging and pushing our students to succeed.”

In 2015 Mini Einstein found, what they call, the “main campus” on 21020 67th Avenue West, in Lynnwood, Washington.

“I never once saw myself saying, when I was 18 going into college, that I’m going to be a businesswoman, I’m going to have 50 employees, that I’m going to own a school,” said Sciacca.

Mini Einstein
Samantha Sciacca, owner of Mini Einstein’s Learning Center. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore

Ashley Morga, Operations Manager at Mini Einstein’s, first got involved with the early learning center as a parent enrolling her child. She informed the Lynnwood Times it was witnessing, firsthand, how her daughter benefitted from the school that made her want to be a part of Mini Einstein’s success.

“She started with the pre-K program but by the time she entered Kindergarten she was beyond ready,” said Morga. “She was bored the first two months of kindergarten because she said ‘Mom I already know all of this.’ She knew her alphabet, she knew her letters, her numbers, basic addition/subtraction, how to read. She could focus on getting to know her new friends, her new teacher, her new environment and wasn’t worried about the academics. I still see that in each group that comes out. It’s such a well-rounded program.”

Mini Einstein
Ashley Morga, Operations Manager at Mini Einstein’s, and owner Samantha Sciacca. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore

Back in March Mini Einstein was awarded $1,847,370 million from the Washington State Department of Commerce which was used to purchase the building. When the building officially opens on May 1, it will add 124 new childcare slots in Snohomish County.

For parents interested in enrolling their kids, please visit their website at to request a tour.

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