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An Interview With Passionate, Skilled, Intelligent Educators

Education formatively effects the mind, the character, the physical ability to complete tasks. The way we teach is critical to the success of students, and it takes a lot to be a great educator: passion, commitment, skill, kindness, patience, knowledge, an open heart and mind (and so much more). At ARROJO Cosmetology, one of the things we are most careful about — and most proud of — is the excellence of our educators. Now we raise a platform for their voice to be heard. Step forward Lorraine Cruz (image left), Laura Martin (image center), and Kristin Golembiewski  (image right) — three key members of our team.  

The following interview took place in a round table forum.


Question: Where did you go to Cosmetology School, and what do you remember about the experience?

Kristin: Douglas J Aveda Institute, Michigan. It had many positives, like the chance to take clients and be part of a real salon. Looking back, however, there could have been better support from the educators, more one-to-one attention.

Lorraine: Empire Beauty School, New York. It was a great location, right in the middle of Manhattan. The focus was State Board requirements. Very practical, but it was only later that I discovered my true passion and direction.

Laura: Pivot Point, Chicago. I had teachers from all over the world — Finland, Argentina, Italy — and each had their own perspective on the industry, which was a great insight. Like Kristin, though, I felt once we were working with clients, there was not enough guidance. I also felt the curriculum’s structure could have been stronger. There wasn’t enough focus on classic techniques. These fundamentals are the foundations on which proper craftsmanship is built; they’ve vital. When I left school I retrained my classic techniques, but it would have been better to have practiced these habits from the beginning.


Question: You all have notable career credits and could work in any field of the industry. Why did you choose to be cosmetology educators?

Lorraine: One of the most valuable things in life is to share what you know with others. Education is how we pass on knowledge, skills and values to the next generation. This is a career with purpose and meaning; I am proud to teach.

Laura: To teach, you must understand what you are teaching: Being an educator forces you to be your absolute best. And it is so rewarding. Watching students come out of their shell is so much fun.

Kristin: I’ve always loved teaching. As a high school student I taught preschool. As a college student I prepared to be a kindergarten teacher. After becoming a stylist, it felt like a natural progression. There’s nothing better than teaching something you love to people who are passionate to learn.


Question: You’ve all achieved terrific success with your students; what makes you a great educator?

Laura: I am as passionate about teaching as I am about hair. I have an extensive background in hairdressing, but I also have teaching experience in other fields. I am also a student; I take classes towards my BA at NYU and I face the same challenges my students do in trying to balance work, school, and the rest of their lives. I empathize, but I’m tough too because I want them to fulfill their potential.

Lorraine: I have a strong skill-set and experience. I love to share with my students, and I have the knack of effective communication. We are helping people attain personal and career growth, and the importance of my role always stays with me.

Kristin: Cosmetology school is about learning the basics, which means little rule breaking regarding technique, and consistent practice. Two things I facilitate well. I’m mild mannered and laid back, which makes me approachable — something I didn’t have as a student. I was afraid to ask questions or to ask for help because my educators were standoffish, which is the opposite of how we work.


Question: What do you enjoy about working at ARROJO Cosmetology?

Kristin: This is a great school. Our philosophy is to raise standards in cosmetology education, and we apply consistent methods to realize this goal. We focus on repeat practice to make students stronger. We break things down in the classroom, on the salon floor, into manageable pieces. It makes learning easier. Consequently, the students have the proper fundamentals earlier in their development, and we can teach them advanced techniques. To see students progress so quickly is a great reward. Anytime you get to be a part of someone’s life in a positive way is a wonderful feeling. It’s amazing to have the opportunity at such a progressive school.

Laura: Small class sizes; a team of supportive, cooperative people; a strong curriculum with an intensely technical focus; and students that are serious about their education. I can’t imagine a better place to teach.

Lorraine: Kristin and Laura covered many things you notice when you start work here, and it adds up to remarkable energy and culture. We are empowered to deliver education with creativity, elegance and precision. It’s a powerful force. It makes the role especially rewarding.


Question: Kristin, you touched on a school mantra: to raise standards of cosmetology education. Why is it important?

Kristin: It’s important cosmetology is appreciated as an art, craft, and skill. This isn’t something people do as a lazy man’s college. We’re serious about giving students the best education, a platform to go to the top of the craft, a lucrative career. But to be successful you have to pour your heart into it; it requires dedication and hard work. There’s no better time than school to start good habits.

Laura: Many stylists begin careers without a strong foundation, thinking they can get by on creativity. Later, they realize the importance of fundamentals and try to relearn the basics, but it’s harder once bad habits are formed. Teaching good habits from the start ensures a strong foundation. The higher the standards of their education, the further students can go after graduation.

Lorraine: We want our students to become the next generation of industry-leading stylists. If we want our students to be the best, we have to be the best. We’re training students, not just to get their license, but to be great at everything they do.


Question: Tell us more about working with students. What are you trying to achieve day-to-day, and how does it fit in to the big picture of a 7-month curriculum?

Lorraine: A typical day involves making the learning fun, interactive, and effective. We have amazing educators with amazing experiences and skills. We work together to make innovative, engaging lessons that maximize students’ time and potential. Add the days up, combine with the advanced curriculum, and after 7-months we have given students the ability to be real masters of the craft.

Kristin: Being a great hairdresser takes more than technical skills and creativity, it takes confidence. I tell my students to acknowledge their strengths and to take pride in them. Once they leave school it’s a different world and to reach the top they must have faith in their abilities. Every day, as part of the big picture, we are trying to build their self-esteem, give them confidence to be powerful communicators and great service providers. It’s this rounded approach that makes our students especially well prepared to join the industry.

Laura: Every day students mix theory and workshops. They learn new skills, and the scientific principles behind what they are learning. There’s lots of practical application, and the how and why is always integrated. We teach how to succeed as a stylist, from people skills and business practices to chemistry and anatomy to the correct way to perform a service. Our aim is to provide students with exceptional technique, the confidence to serve clients, a hunger for continued education, and the understanding that, with hard work and dedication, they can reach their highest goals.


Teacher Bios

Before ARROJO, Kristin worked for Aveda as a colorist and educator. She has advanced certification in Hair Color, Men’s Haircutting, and Product-ivity. She assisted David Adams with Aveda “Red Chocolate” training, provided hair colors for Daniel Holzberger seminars (Van Michael), and competed in the Edwin Neill Aveda Educator Competition.


Before ARROJO, Lorraine worked for a manufacturer as a platform artist, exhibiting at trade shows such as IBS New York, ABS Chicago, ISSE Long Beach California, CosmoProf Las Vegas, Orlando Premier Florida, and at shows in Santo Domingo, Sydney, and Milan. She also featured as an ‘Emerging Talent’ in Modern Salon.


Before ARROJO, Laura was a prominent stylist, practicing cut and color, as well as providing in-salon education for her peers. She has created editorial photo-shoots for Blur Magazine, worked on fashion runway shows in Chicago, and can count Mike Mills and Sunny Ortiz amongst her many clients.


Want to study with the best educators at the best school? For enrollment info, or to arrange a tour of the campus, Or call: 212 242 7786 ext 208

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Tags: arrojo, cosmetology, education, nick


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