Larissa Lane: MAACS Educator of the Year

by Courtney Weikel

Every year, the prestigious Mid-Atlantic Association of Career Schools presents the Educator of the Year Award to honor outstanding educators whose techniques and innovations best respond to the needs of students in vocational training. This year, we are thrilled to announce that Larissa Lane from Empire North Hills has been awarded the MAACS Educator of the Year! This is a well-deserved recognition of her dedication, expertise, and commitment to shaping the next generation of beauty professionals.

I came to teaching because I’ve been in the beauty industry for a very long time, working in salons and film sets. Whenever you learn information and how to do things, you should take the time to give back that information. It’s a gift to be able to get that information, so it is important to give it back. That’s what I wanted to do. The type of person I am, I feel like I can give back to the industry and students. I have the experience and the knowledge behind it, the real-life experience of what it’s like in the field. To teach, for me, is to see others succeed further than what I had. That’s why I teach. To see people go further than I had.

MAACS encompasses over 100 trade schools across several states in the Mid-Atlantic region. Their annual conference is the largest post-secondary conference in the country. Nominees are reviewed by the Awards Committee and rated on their response to student needs, effectiveness and originality, professional achievements, and quality of recommendations. This is the second year in a row that an Empire Beauty School educator has won this prestigious award.

Althea Hosler, Director of Educational Operations at Empire Beauty School, believes Lane is well-deserving of this award.

I interviewed Larissa in October 2020, for an Educator position at the North Hills Campus. Within 10 minutes of meeting her, I knew that she was something special and that Empire would be lucky to have her come aboard. As Larissa was performing her technical portion of the interview, I was thoroughly impressed and it takes a lot to impress me. Every time I visit the North Hills Campus I look forward to sitting in on Larissa’s class. She is the epitome of what we look for in an Empire Educator: knowledge, grace, class, consistency, and empathy. She brings all of her outside experience to her classroom. It is an honor to receive the MAACS award and no one deserves it more than Larissa Lane

Lane completed both the Cosmetology and Educator Training programs at our West Mifflin and North Hill locations, respectively. Believing that she has a gift to teach, Lane is dedicated to training the next generation of beauty professionals at Empire North Hills since November 2020.

I do what I do because I believe we all have a purpose on Earth. I believe if you are on Earth, and you are breathing, then you should do something with that time. It is a gift to be on this Earth. It’s what you do with that time and it shouldn’t be just about you. It’s supposed to be about bettering those that come behind you. I find it important to be that person. You hear the phrase “it takes a village” and I love being a part of peoples’ villages. I had a village of people to help me become who I am. We can be people’s windows of opportunity and possibilities. I try to be that window. Not everyone has that, everyone comes from a different background. I think it is important for people to see the possibilities, and show encouragement because not everyone has that. It’s a part of my purpose. Not everyone has a gift to teach, but I think it is a gift to do so. If I could do that for someone, then I accomplished what I was meant to do on Earth.

Matthew Deem, Executive Director of Empire North Hills, notes Lane’s impressive accomplishments:

I have had the distinct privilege of knowing Larissa for the past 11 years. Larissa was my Educator in Training during my very first year as a Cosmetology Educator at Empire Beauty School, North Hills. Our goal as an Educator is to teach the next generation to be better than us. I followed Larissa’s illustrious career over the years. I’ve seen her launch her own skincare line, Skincare by LLA. I’ve watched her publish a book. I’ve seen her win an Emmy and now I get to call her my educator. I am so proud of how far she has come. Larissa is a shining example to her students and co-workers that there is no limit to what you can achieve with dedication, drive, and passion. Larissa amazes me every day with her positivity and selflessness.

Lane has gone above and beyond to provide exceptional training, guidance, and mentorship to her students. Her passion for teaching has not only helped students develop their skills but also inspired them to reach new heights in their careers.

As an educator, my connection with students can be inspiring for other educators. Winning this award is inspiring other educators to be their best selves. I think even as an educator, we are still students. I think this award will help inspire other educators, connect with students better, and bring their best when it comes to teaching while still being confident in themselves. As far as my students, they are excited to have the “educator of the year” with them. I think it’s enticing for a student, they want to check out my classes because of this. It’s inspiring to them because if I could do this, they can do far greater.

Through hands-on training and engaging classroom activities, Lane creates a dynamic learning environment that fosters creativity, innovation, and a deep understanding of the beauty industry. Lane describes one of her favorite activities she used with her students.

We were in design principles and our students had a task to pick a culture. Students randomly picked a culture and a century out of a box. They had to find a style from that and also learn the history of it. They created the style, presented it, and it was so amazing. I think it is important to connect the noun to history. I think it is important to understand where things come from and how they came about. My students connected with it, understood it, and created it. They did such a great job and it made them want to learn.

Beyond her role as an educator, Lane has played an active role in the beauty industry. So now you may be wondering… what’s next for Lane?

My greatest accomplishment in this industry is being a teacher and watching my students grow and surpass me. That to me is gold. My career goals are to be able to teach at a higher level and be more effective in my teaching style, and how I connect students to reality. My skincare company goal would be to expand it to be in schools, spas, hotels, etc. I already published one book The BLUEPRINT to Building Clientele and I plan on writing another book that will be more focused on students finding their pathway to success.

It is important to be your best self, always. You are good enough. Once people realize that for themselves, it allows them to bloom into who they are supposed to be.

Congratulations to Larissa Lane on being awarded the MAACS Educator of the Year, we thank you for your dedication to the growth and success of the beauty industry.

For more information about Empire Beauty School, or how to enroll visit

August 7, 2023

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