For Briana Esquivel, founder, owner and operator of BAE’s Education, school is more than just a place for children to pass the time. Living through adversity in childhood, Esquivel leaned on education as a means to build success and have a positive impact in her family and community. A first-generation high school graduate and college student, Esquivel is now in the final stages of completing her Doctorates in Education at CSU Sacramento and has built her career around creating early childhood education programs for a variety of institutions. This year, she is celebrating the opening of the first location of BAE’s Education, a non-profit/for profit multicultural state-funded preschool and privately-owned child development center. With support from the Women’s Business Center, Esquivel has created a strategic business plan that will allow her to reach children from underserved communities with holistic and inclusive education and grow a new generation of leaders.
"We're Here for the Children"
Growing up, despite instability being a facet of her home life, Esquivel’s parents always ensured that she had access to good schools. “My parents wanted me to break the generational curse,” she says, explaining the critical role that schools should play in supporting the entirety of a child’s development, not just academics. “Children need stability–they need to be ensured, ‘I don’t have to worry about surviving because my school’s got me’.”
Esquivel first began to develop her philosophy and expertise through her teaching practicum in early childhood education within Los Rios Community Colleges, and eventually CSU Sacramento where she’s obtaining her master’s in educational leadership and policy and through her work in program and curriculum development through projects within early childhood education centers and school districts locally. When the Covid-19 pandemic caused schools across the country to shut down, with marked negative impacts on children’s educational attainment, Esquivel decided take action, aiming to provide consistent and relevant educational settings.
With her wide range of experience working on the ground with communities to develop programs for students, she knew that she could open her own education centers that would go beyond what was possible at existing schools. The concept for BAE’s Education–which stands for Before Anything Else, Education–was born out of the need to ensure that communities could stay connected to care and education for their children. Esquivel joined together with colleagues and envisioned a learning environment that would serve students from underserved populations and empower their families as well. “We evaluate demands, and serve them,” she says. “That’s our number 1 priority. We’re here for the children.”
Leveraging Business Support
With a federal grant in partnership with the State of California, Department of Social Serivces and the U.S. Department of Education, Esquivel and her co-founders were able to begin developing locations for BAE’s Education schools in Sacramento and Elk Grove. Working with a Women’s Business Center counselor, Charles Thomas, Esquivel navigated the technical side of her new enterprise, writing a business plan, creating a budget, and learning how to operate a business.
The Sacramento location, on Mather Road, will celebrate their grand opening next month on November 17. The locations were chosen strategically to be available to lower income neighborhoods, and BAE’s Education will offer education and care for infants and toddlers, preschool, transitional kindergarten,
and school-aged children. To help elevate communities, the centers will offer before and after school programs for students up to grade six, as well as dual-language immersion programs, which allow English-learners to increase literacy in their first language while learning English.
Esquivel sees all of her efforts as an investment in the future of Sacramento. “Our motto is ‘Saving Sacramento, one neighborhood at a time,’” she says. “We would love to be in as many neighborhoods as have the demand. There are still families that need care, growing communities that need love and need people to invest in them and their children.