Successful Year for Margaret’s

Story by Jeannie Stone

Margaret’s Hair Academy is situated in a handsome fieldstone building, built in 1926, on Tyler Road in Russellville. The school, under the direction of Marti Poyner and owned by Margaret Thomas, offers a basic cosmetology course as well as an instructor course for students interested in joining the cosmetology field.

“It’s amazing how quickly we’ve grown,” Poyner said. “We started with five students in July 2007, and we’re bursting at the seams with 32 students now.”

Because students advance at their own pace, five students are set to graduate by March.

“We are currently accepting admissions,” she said.

Incoming students contract for 13 months although, according to Poyner, “it’s possible to complete the program in 10 1⁄2 months.”

To assist with the cost of tuition, students are encouraged to apply for Federal Pell Grants. Direct loans are also available. J.R. Richards is the financial aid officer at the school.

Not all students are fresh out of high school; not all are female.

Jenny Swenson, 21, a junior at Arkansas Tech University, majoring in early childhood education, enjoys the creative aspects of styling hair.

Nathan Wisdom, 27, came to the school later in life but his grin lights up the school. “I’m right where I want to be,” he said.

Twenty-year-old Dana Wilcox was attending a job fair held at the Goody’s distribution plant where she’d been employed.

“Becoming a cosmetologist is just something I was always interested in,” she said.

According to Poyner, Wilcox will be highly marketable after graduation. Most students have positions right after completing their studies.

Take for instance Ashley Lunsford, who has a job lined up with Beverly’s in Dardanelle.

“She is one of our best,” Poyner said. “Ashley has earned 148 percent in attendance. She is always here and ready to learn.”

Lunsford, married to a police officer, loves coloring and doing updos.

“I’ve been doing all my family’s hair for years, so it just feels natural. I already have a strong customer base.”

Poyner also bragged on Ana Perez, 19, of Danville. “We have several Hispanic students currently enrolled,” she said, “and that’s a huge benefit around here.”

Perez is looking forward to working a little closer to home. “I love cutting. I just like working with scissors best,” she said.

Brandy Wells, 20, of Pottsville participated in the Vo-Tech program when she was a student at Pottsville High School, “but I quit for awhile and decided to return.” She has completed half of her course hours.

“Oh, they work,” Poyner said. Classes include retail, rebooking, product knowledge, ethnic hair designs, how to work a front desk, how to build clientele, and how to greet patrons at the door. Upon completion, students are eligible to take the Arkansas State Board licensing exam.

“Oh,” Poyner exclaimed to a student, “I almost forgot. Smart Style at Wal-Mart is coming in February to recruit.”

Sounds like opportunity is knocking at Margaret’s Hair Academy.

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