Empire Educator Retires After 23 Years of Shaping the Future of the Beauty Industry

by Courtney Weikel

Congratulations to Jill Scholz, an esteemed educator at Empire Beauty School Lehigh Valley, on her retirement after an impressive 23 years of teaching with Empire. Scholz has been dedicated to educating and mentoring beauty professionals at Empire since 2000. Over the years, she has touched the lives of countless students. 

Michelle Zeigler, Executive Director at Empire Lehigh Valley, shares her excitement for Scholz:

I am so very excited for Jill’s next adventure in her life. I will truly miss her and her energy on our campus each and every day! Jill has embodied all that Empire stands for in her actions as an educator at our campus. Jill took great care in preparing for her class each day to be sure all of her students received the best education possible. Jill also was a great resource for all of our new educators and was able to mentor each new team member. I truly have cherished the time I was able to work with Jill over the years and will truly miss having her at the campus each day!

Since retiring, Scholz has decided to remain active in the beauty industry, offering to substitute as needed. To celebrate this new adventure, Scholz takes a look back on her beauty journey.

I began teaching because hair had always been something I wanted to do. I had been a stay-at-home mom with my three children. The only other jobs I had was waitressing or fast food, I didn’t want to do that anymore. I put myself through beauty school and I haven’t turned back since. It has been a great opportunity for me to help support my kids. I always tell that to my students, it is what you make of it. You can sit around and wait for people to come to you, or you can get out there and network. When I enrolled, I was a single mom with three children. I had to take two of them to grade school, one to daycare, and myself to school. It was a good routine for me. I love it. 

Throughout her time with Empire, Scholz taught at every level and always felt supported in her career.

Empire offered me advancement in my career if I wanted it but I was very content in my position. I taught at every level. I started with the educators in training program, then I went to the salon floor for 10-12 years and ended in pre-salon. The previous educator in pre-salon retired, and I volunteered for this position. I enjoyed working in the pre-salon because they have a fresh mind. They don’t come in with habits that I have to break. With the material being brand new, the students were like sponges, absorbing everything. It is true when they say your students mirror you. I will set up my demonstration and my students would set theirs up exactly like mine. I was always happy with staying in teaching. 

What makes us different from other beauty schools? According to Scholz, the organization and curriculum is a standout factor.

The curriculum is fabulous. At the previous school I worked for, there wasn’t a lot of direction. Empire invests in its people and takes good care of us with training. They are one of the best in education. We are located close to other beauty schools, but we had many students come in for tours and they would tell us we offer the best program.

Frank and Kyle Schoeneman are two of the most fabulous men that run that corporation. I’ve had many interactions with them both over the years. They are wonderful people to work for. They bring family into everything. That means a lot to me.

Empire Beauty School is dedicated to educating our beauty professionals in all aspects of cosmetology. One of the ways this is done is by connecting with each team on how they can feel supported. 

They do a lot of surveys. They reach out to us asking what we are looking for, and what we might need extra training in. It is helpful because everyone comes from a different place or school. I appreciated it because I always struggled with makeup. I am not a makeup person, I wear the basics. When I was in skincare, it was always a challenge for me. I put that in my surveys and they paid attention to it. They gave me support and classes for it. Recently, we did training this past week on new products. They are supportive when we bring in new products and educate us on them. Every time they introduce something, they work with us on it and ask for our opinion. 

Scholz has dedicated years to training and inspiring our future beauty professionals. With several accomplishments, her proudest is staying in this industry.

I am proud of myself for doing it all of these years. I never really jumped around from jobs, even as a teenager. Working in this industry for 25-28 years is my biggest accomplishment. The greatest reward is seeing my students graduate, get jobs in the industry, and become successful. Their success felt like my success too. I love the reaction of students when they understand the material. You could see the lightbulb when they made a connection. 

The beauty industry will always give back. As an educator, it is a unique opportunity to share your experience and knowledge with our future professionals. 

The relationships that were built with the staff and students are some of my memorable moments. It’s great to see former students become stylists and have them return to campus for a visit. That’s been the best part, the friendships and the relationships that were built over the years. 

Scholz’s retirement is a bittersweet moment for Empire Lehigh Valley. We thank Scholz for her many years of service to the industry and wish her all of the happiness that retirement brings. May these years be filled with well-deserved rest, relaxation, and joy.  

My retirement plans are to spend time with my family. I have three daughters and three very young grandchildren. I look forward to being more available to my children. I’m looking forward to gardening and reading more. I will miss the student interactions and all of the people. 

For more information about Empire Beauty School, or how to enroll, visit https://bit.ly/LearnMoreAtEmpire

August 16, 2023

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