Paul Mitchell Schools Co-Owners John Paul DeJoria (left) and Winn Claybaugh (right).
Paul Mitchell Schools Co-Owners John Paul DeJoria (left) and Winn Claybaugh (right).

MODERN SALON's Excellence in Education annual recognition program celebrates leading cosmetology schools, highlighting innovative programs and best practices in eight categories and two divisions (single location and multi-unit schools).The 2015 Excellence in Education honorees were announced October 24 at the American Association of Cosmetology Schools conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Among 38 schools recognized, top honorees were named in each category.

In this Excellence in Education Spotlight series, MODERN SALON connects with each of the top honorees to further explore programs and how schools are collaborating to develop the future of professional beauty. Here, a closer look at the 2015 top honoree in Technology, multiple locations.

Students at Paul Mitchell Schools are fully immersed in technology from day one. Color and cutting apps, social media contests and a mobile website are just a few of the improvements the school has made to stay current and give students what they need to learn more efficiently.

Transforming Education with Technology

Paul Mitchell Schools love helping future professionals learn. To meet the demand of high-tech education from millennial students, the schools now provide a proprietary app for a cutting system and color system. These interactive apps for tablets let students type in answers, draw diagrams, email their work to instructors and see their progress in chapters as they complete activities.

The school also understands today’s students and prospective students want to do everything from their phones. So this year, the school updated its mobile-friendly site to allow for easy access to real-time information about programs, start dates, materials needed and more. Prospective students can even begin the enrollment process from the mobile site.

The site was co-branded with Paul Mitchell, so students really feel like they’re in the Paul Mitchell world.

“We all know that today’s customer/student wants and needs information to be easily accessible,” says Winn Claybaugh, Paul Mitchell Schools co-owner. “It’s always a top priority to deliver what your customer wants. Our students also love the mobile site’s vibrancy, its on-trend feeling and the message it conveys—that everyone is welcome here.”

Social media campaigns also make students feel part of the Paul Mitchell family right away. Students are invited to put up style or color work on social media and enter in-house contest through social media hashtagging.

Sometimes top educators vote for winners, and sometimes winners are determined by Facebook and Instagram likes. Prizes are awarded based on each type of judging.

“Our students and team members want something to belong to, something that’s bigger than themselves, and something that makes a contribution,” Claybaugh says. “Our social media campaigns help to build that community and sense of belonging. We also love to highlight our students’ individual work, encourage them to share with one another, and foster their friendships with each other through our engagement with them on our national social media channels.”

A corporate-wide intranet site gives school leaders instant access to critical information, and another intranet site was designed for students to make educational tools and resources available inside and outside the classroom 24/7.

To keep up with students’ needs, Claybaugh recommends getting to know them and how they learn.

“Our Paul Mitchell Schools have had lots of training to understand the Millennial generation,” Claybaugh says. “Having an attitude of ‘When I was your age,’ will never work. You must enter their world and discover their learning style, then do the research to make the investment. Finally, you need the right message to help them understand how their educational experience will be better with technology and how it will set them up for success in their career and life.” 

Paul Mitchell the School, Salt Lake City, UT.


School Spotlight: Paul Mitchell Schools

Location: Sandy, UT. 108 locations.

Owners: Winn Claybaugh and John Paul DeJoria

Established: January 2001

Average enrollment: 14,000 for all 108 schools

Best student perk: "Being part of the Paul Mitchell world," Claybaugh says. "Our culture is wonderful and unique. Our artists and educators are amazing, and our students have access to that kind of education." 

AACS member? Yes; joined in 2010.

What is one big idea you've adopted from an AACS event or talking to another AACS member? “That we all need each other,” Claybaugh says. “I’d rather have 10 good schools as my competitors than 10 bad schools. When we all network and share with each other, we’re all much better off.” 

What's one major improvement that you're planning for 2016? “We are enhancing and updating our Salon Readiness educational program to reflect the current atmosphere of a successful salon. Our goal is for our graduates to have not only amazing technical skills but also amazing business skills.”   

What schools or educators inspire you? “My own learning leaders, school owners and team members inspire me,” Claybaugh says. “With the hundreds of trainings we do in our Paul Mitchell School network each year, we rarely bring in outsiders. Meaning, our own people are so brilliant that all we need to do is tap their brilliance and give them a platform to share their knowledge.”

What does your Excellence in Education recognition mean to you? “We spread the word through press releases. As a network, we encourage all our schools to enter every year.” 

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