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HHS grad opens Salon Professional Academy

By By Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
When Paula Ward was a student at Hartselle High School, she thought she wanted to become a lawyer. Then, she took a class designed to train students in the art of cosmetology.
The class changed her life. Today. Ward, now Paula Lecher, is one of the owners of Huntsville’s Salon Allure. Recently, she and a group of partners opened The Salon Professional Academy, the first facility of its kind in the area.
To help bridge this gap, Lecher and five others started the process of opening the academy. It’s affiliated with Redken and, in Lecher’s words, “is the Harvard of hair schools.”
It’s the first Redken training facility in Alabama and the 32nd in the country.
Students at the academy not only learn how to cut, color and style hair, they also learn the business and customer-service areas of the industry.
The academy offers a nine-month program equivalent to an associate’s program with professional educators working in each class. Students must have a high school diploma or GED to enroll.
The academy recently started its first class with five students. The second phase, with 10 enrollees, will begin later this summer. The academy enrolls up to 15 students in each session, and is equipped to accommodate up to 104 students rotating through classes.
In addition to classroom work, students get hands-on experience at the academy’s full-service salon. It offers nail, skin and hair services, as well as massages.
Lecher said cosmetology remains an attractive job for many people.