To people visiting the bustling metropolitan area that is Phoenix, it’s hard to imagine that a picturesque three-hour drive east would welcome visitors to a peaceful group of neighborhoods on top of a mountain range. Nestled on the Mongollon Rim are Northern Pioneer Colleges, five campuses, enough schools to serve and support the residents of Navajo and Apache Counties to live promising lives.
At the Snowflake campus, Julie Peck, Cosmetology Instructor at Northland Pioneer College in Navajo County, Arizona, knows how to work hard and how to motivate others to do so.TT
Known in the industry for her kindness and manners, Julie has the ability to pass on her gifts to her students.
A successful teacher with a humble spirit, Julie started out as a licensed cosmetologist, working 20 years in a salon. Excelling in her profession, she began to think about the future as a single woman. Wanting security and insurance, Julie decided to go back to school and get her Instructors license.
Having overcome personal obstacles in her own life, Julie is able to relate to the students. But she also knows how ‘victim mentality’ can drag a person down. Stinkin’ thinkin’ is not allowed in her classroom. Julie is not just an instructor; she is her students biggest advocate for success. She is aware how easy it can be for some students to find excuses to not behave or expect less from themselves and allow circumstances to drag them down.
Her motto, ‘That was yesterday. Today is today’.
Julie is very clear on how she treats her students and what she expects from them. She has learned:
- to have high standards for each student. Julie has discovered when she expects much from them, it raises the bar, they work harder, and they respect and trust her more. She firmly believes in mutual respect in the classroom.
- that each person who walks through her classroom door has different learning styles. She feels it is important to meet them where they are at.
- that each person is fighting their own battles. Many of the students are single moms, women coming out of abusive situations, 16-year-olds who come from a bad home life and know that when they graduate from high school, they are on their own.
- that each student must learn to treat each client with integrity. That the 80-year-old lady who comes in, not being able to wash her hair for weeks, is treated with as much respect as a movie start that walks in.
Julie grasps that many of the students who sign up for training are broken; a wife whose husband lost his job, a woman who finds herself single again after many years, or maybe a young girl who doesn’t feel that college is her calling. This can be their break-out point and they are ready for a change, for freedom.
To Julie, her students are not only trained to do hair, they are learning to stand on their own. They are learning how to hone their cosmetology skills while being taught how to run their own business.
Four of Julie’s current students achieved GOLD in competition at the state level and will be competing at the national level in Louisville, Kentucky in June. This is no small feat for anyone. The Olympics of Cosmetology.
Julie Peck, an instructor who demands the best from everyone while treating others as she wants to be treated herself. Kindness, perseverance, goals, excellence, manners and skills. All part of the curriculum of this success story.
Julie glances at her students, each one with a pair of Icon Shears in hand, and smiles. She is a success in your own right, sharing her knowledge with the cosmetology industry, and to society with her “people building” skills. Kudos to Julie for caring, outside of herself.