Entrepreneur: Lyle and Jennifer Board
Photography by Brian Baiamonte
COMPANY School of Rock
WHAT THEY DO Performance-based music education
ADDRESS 5830 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd., Suite A6
NEXT GOALS Increase enrollment and build brand recognition
GETTING IN TUNE
When Lyle and Jennifer Board first heard about School of Rock, it was music to their ears. Lyle learned of the California-based music education franchise while trying to identify new, more fulfilling career options after nearly 20 years working in health care operations. His love of music and proven track record in business development, combined with his wife’s education background as the principle of Duplessis Primary School in Gonzales, made the music school a perfect fit for the Boards’ next gig. Founded in 1998 and with more than 200 locations nationwide, School of Rock takes a real-world approach to teaching music.
What separates their business from other music schools, according to Lyle, is the company’s history and programs. “We’ve been doing it longer than anyone else and our programs are specifically geared toward teaching a child not just music, but also how to play together and perform live rock music on stage,” he says. So far, the husband-and-wife duo are amazed at the progress their students, ages 6 to 18, are making after just a few lessons. And, as Jennifer points out, parents get the added benefit of their children learning the problem solving and interpersonal communication skills needed to succeed in the 21st century.
READY TO ROCK
The Boards opened Louisiana’s first School of Rock in May. Since then, they’ve focused on increasing enrollment in summer camps and individual music lessons. As new business owners, they learned tough lessons from unexpected challenges like underestimating the cost of renovating in Baton Rouge’s post-flood construction market. Nonetheless, the Boards say the experience has been nothing but rewarding. As the daughter of the late swamp-pop musician Joe Landry, Jennifer says it’s reassuring to know School of Rock provides young people with a safe, healthy environment to learn music. As Lyle puts it: “It’s all the fun and the attitude of rock ‘n’ roll, but without the trappings and the negative lifestyle that is sometimes associated with rock ‘n’ roll.”
Amid drumbeats and power chords, Lyle is paying bills, listening in on marketing conference calls and managing day-to-day business responsibilities like building the brand in the community. Meanwhile, Jennifer’s hard at work with in her number one role as “supportive wife.” She also brings her experience as an educator to bear by implementing new activities for younger students, sharing fun ideas for the office space and teaching the School of Rock team how best to communicate with parents. And as an added bonus, the Boards say the business has brought them unexpected family time this summer as their two boys pitch in at the music school between karate and swimming lessons.