Modern Salon Media’s Excellence In Education Recognition Program

July 10, 2011 | 10:20 AM
The newest salon industry awards celebrate leadership and best practices among cosmetology schools. Meet the 2010 Overall Honorees.

Most salon owners would say a great salon begins with great salon professionals, and the best professionals begin with the best education. But where does the best education start, and what are the cutting-edge schools using?

To uncover the answer, MODERN SALON Media launched the “Excellence in Education” recognition program honoring cosmetology schools.

The first class of recipients was named during the annual AACS (American Association of Cosmetology Schools) conference in October 2010. Nearly 100 schools submitted 374 entries in eight categories. Finalists and honorable mentions were determined in four classes based on school size or number of locations, with one overall honoree from all applicants named for each category.

A complete list of finalists is posted at Expanded profiles of the Overall Honorees will be added to the site and showcased throughout the year.

La’ James International College,
Fort Dodge, IA 7 Locations
Owner: Cynthia Becher

To help this chain of schools stand out, owner Cynthia Becher came up with dynamite marketing vehicles, including the company’s annually published, 32-page glossy magazine. The Buzz is distributed locally to medical offices, family planning clinics, summer camps and recreational centers as well as playing prominently at job fairs and high school presentations.

Capitol School of Hairstyling and Esthetics,
Omaha, NE Single Location
Director: D. Scott McCaig

Salon management software enhances the educational experience as the students learn to keep track of their booking times and point-of-sale figures, while a biometric fingerprint scanner that replaced the old time clock eliminates errors.

Eric Fisher Academy, Wichita, KS
Owners: Eric and Mary Fisher

Functionality is supplied by the school’s 56 styling stations, on wheels for easy mobility so the salon floor can convert to open space accommodating a stage for highly attended runway shows, advanced education classes for alumni and local hairdressers and technical demonstrations by celebrated guest artists. A newly added photo and video studio gets students started on their portfolios well before graduation.

Kohler Academy, Scottsdale, AZ Single Location
Owners: Jill and Burt Kohler

A Student Council empowers students, the “Lifeskills” curriculum emphasizes the importance of developing a business head and a generous heart and the school’s “DREAM Team” of student ambassadors takes outreach activities off campus. Days devoted to interviewing help students line up jobs, while high-profile graduation ceremonies celebrate program completion.

Aveda Institute Portland, Portland, OR Single Location
Director: Kimberly Johnson

A multi-pronged approach to the job hunt ensures that every student at Aveda Institute Portland will click with something. Maybe it’s the Career Fair that incorporates student presentations as part of a runway show. Or the Partners in Education initiative that permits students to earn credit by job shadowing at salons.

Empire Education Group, Pottsville, PA 94 Locations
Chairman and CEO: Franklin K. Schoeneman

Empire has developed the Masters of Beauty Skills Certification Program, offering product-neutral advanced classes with celebrated artist Nick Arrojo. The program includes a two-day “Tour of Beauty” hands-on workshop that gives participants a chance to recreate Arrojo’s current trend release, plus a one-day instructional session devoted to the techniques required.


Bellus Academy, Poway, CA Single Location
Owner: Lynelle Lynch

Bellus launched a “We Love Our Jobs” campaign that promoted the desirability of a beauty industry career. To counter the AACS survey revealing that the community does not perceive beauty and wellness as “premier” careers, Bellus asked salon professionals to share their stories of how they gained family support for entering the profession.

Empire Education Group, Waltham, MA
Entered as Single Location
Academic Director: Maryann Crane
Chairman and CEO: Franklin K. Schoeneman

Charitable outreach includes doing the hair and makeup for the local Boys’ and Girls’ Club theater productions, performing paraffin treatments and hand massages to help raise funds for a nursing facility, providing complimentary services and holidays gifts for families living in shelters, sponsoring clothing and food drives for the homeless and inviting high school students to come in for prom primping.

For deadline and application details for the 2011 “Excellence in Education” program, contact Joyce Alverio at [email protected]

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