An Interview With Instructors

At Jean Madeline, we know it takes a village to create a strong learning culture among our campus communities. We believe that our instructors are the backbone of that Jean Madeline reputation. We’re excited to shed the spotlight on just a few of our incredible instructors so you can get to know them and find out what makes them special. Meet Jessica George, Anesca Sabedra, and Erin Quinlan. They were chosen for this feature because of their varied backgrounds and dedication to our students.

We sat down with these three amazing ladies to learn a little bit more about their own journeys in the beauty industry and to find out what they love about Jean Madeline Aveda Institute. We asked the same series of questions in order to highlight the different responses they shared. A common theme is they are each full of passion and interesting perspectives on what it takes to be successful in beauty. What fuels their fire for teaching our students? Read their answers to our questions below.

Erin Quinlan – Instructor at Queen Village location. Erin attended Jean Madeline as a cosmetology student. After graduating, she worked in a salon for a number of years. She then went on to a teacher training program at another school, but returned to Jean Madeline as an instructor a few years ago.

erin quinlan instructor

Jessica George – Instructor Development Director. Jessica has been in her new role for quite a few months now. She’s basically in charge of the growth of our instructional team. She works with them individually and in groups to make sure our students are getting the best they can from our staff. She was a full-time instructor with us previously, coming to us again after working for Aveda Institute in New York and participating in fashion events there. She’s super passionate about Aveda and Jean Madeline.

jessica george instructor

Anesca Sabedra – Director of Curriculum Education. Anesca was a Jean Madeline cosmetology student, but went on as a student of our teacher training program. She’s been an instructor with us for a number of years and is a great asset to our team. Anesca is in charge of developing and overseeing our curriculum. She and Jessica work closely making sure our programs deliver to our expectations and those of our students.

Anesca Sabedra instructor

How long have you been with Jean Madeline?

Erin: For about two years now, I started as a student there in 2005. After graduating, I worked in salon doing a lot of different services, but found myself specializing in pixie cuts and fashion colors.

Anesca: I graduated in cosmetology in 2003, then completed the teacher training program in 2005. I worked in a Philadelphia salon for a while and took a break to work as an independent hair stylist and worked in the Nordstrom cosmetics department.

Jessica: I completed cosmetology at the Artistic Academy in 2007, then was a full-time instructor there from 2010 to 2015. Then, I worked at Aveda Institute New York from 2015-16. I came here as an instructor in 2016. I was intrigued by Jean Madeline because they were known as THE school with high standards. I remember thinking, “They must be doing something right!”

How long have you been in the beauty industry?

Erin: I enrolled straight out of high school and worked as a cosmetologist for about three years in beauty salons. I developed strong allergies to the chemicals used in the non-Aveda salons, so I switched to dog grooming because I still wanted to cut and style hair. I ended up coming back to Jean Madeline because the Aveda brand is less chemically-based.

Anesca: I tried college for a minute after high school, then joined Jean Madeline because to me they were more structured than other schools, they are the “ivy league of beauty schools.” Aveda has a global reputation as a worldwide brand and salon network so I knew I’d have the ability to move from one area to another and consistency is important.

Jessica: For a decade. Woo!

Which campus do you work with, primarily?

Erin: I’m a Level 1 instructor in cosmetology but I also touch on skin care. An instructor license allows you to cover every program because it’s a top tier license. And instructors have to be able to teach both esthetics and cosmetology for crossover students.

Anesca: I was at the University City campus for a long time, I’ve been at Queen Village for the past 2 years.

Jessica: Mainly at University City, but I work on site for all three: Queen Village, University City, and Neshaminy Mall.

What do you love most about working in beauty?

Erin: I love being a part of the change for people. Services wise, I love the “big transformation” and seeing how a client’s attitude changes because you helped, provided a positive atmosphere. As a teacher, I love to watch students gain confidence.

Anesca: The ability to create, it’s more than making people look good, it’s helping them feel good. For both a client or a student, you’re motivating them and helping them reach overall wellness.

Jessica: I never knew anything else, there was no other option for me. My grandma was a hairstylist and I started playing with hair and makeup at a young age. I’ve always loved it, so when it came to choosing a college or beauty school I wanted to follow my heart and passion for it. I love what I’m doing. It’s a beautiful thing helping other people feel good about themselves.

What is most rewarding about being an instructor or being involved in the curriculum?

Erin: The program is set but as a teacher you get a little bit of say in the creativity of teaching whatever part of the curriculum we are teaching. I can hold class competitions or have students draw from outside inspiration.

Anesca: Teaching a student and bringing out their potential and developing an artist within the students. When it comes to curriculum, I love the structure of implementing creative in a linear manner for students to grasp the services they are learning, along with rules and theory.

Jessica: Connecting with learners who have difficulties. It can be easy to talk to someone who already kinda knows how to do it. I get gratification from teaching people who start with a lower knowledge base and then learn how to hold a comb and a hair dryer. Also, I never imagined I’d have the opportunities that beauty school gives you. Coaching students about the options ahead and all of the wide variety of career options within beauty.

What are some of the challenges of teaching?

Erin: Time management is hard, there’s not enough hours in the day. Students have different learning skills and you don’t want to leave anyone behind or have some bored.

Anesca: Keeping the students self-motivated. When students lose motivation they stop attending and lose focus or stop studying hard so that’s a challenge. We review the curriculum every three months after each period of advancement for each level to see what has worked for the instructors and students. Time management is hard, with theory and hands-on technical skills, it can overrun the time frame to get them to be able to move to the next level.

Jessica: Being able to multitask. Teaching takes a lot of planning. You do more than come in and teach one thing. Because you are dealing with a creative mind, it’s not easy to teach creatives in a traditional way. In this YouTube beauty vlogger generation, Jean Madeline and its instructors have to provide instruction that keeps them interested and engaged.

What thoughts would you like to share with someone who wants to become an instructor?

Erin: Patience is a virtue. You have to have passion. The knowledge with the purpose behind doing it has to be there, you have to be excited to wake up every day and to provide the best education for your students.

Anesca: Not many students become an instructor after getting licensed. It used to be more about that next step but now with social media many students want to show off their skills rather than share them.

Jessica: Be ready to motivate! Anyone can teach a technical skill but it takes having something that burns inside you to share. Be ready to empower and build up people that have the same passion as you do.

What can you tell me about the Jean Madeline instructors that people might be surprised to learn?

Erin: A majority of our instructors were students at our school.

Anesca: Jean Madeline prepares you for the real salon world. It’s been around for 80 years and runs five salons so students and instructors are learning from real life salon experts and get to practice on the floor. Plus, Jean Madeline invests in advanced education.

Jessica: It has a strong foundation, they just don’t build them like this anymore. Jean Madeline pulls through challenges in the beauty school business. Instructors live and breathe our mission and try their best daily to achieve their goals for the school and its students.

What do you love most about working at Jean Madeline?

Erin: The flexibility of our program. With wifi and the LearnAveda online program, the students use their iPads to follow along and do worksheets. Also, I love the positive message of environmental awareness and sustainability, teaching students about giving back. Our hiring process is thorough to maintain a quality of the instructors. The structure helped me feel prepared for the transition to the work field. Many students do one program then, come back and do the another. Learning never ends!

Anesca: We are a big family. We have a strong family-oriented atmosphere. There is always someone you can talk to if you need. One of our values is that once you join Jean Madeline, you are part of the Jean Madeline family. If you are struggling finding work you can go to intermittent career fairs to make connections. Jean Madeline cares.

Jessica: The people I work with. Their vision of leadership is incredible and inspiring. Knowing that this company is always looking forward to the next steps ahead, you feel integrated in the process for progress and helping people reach their individual goals.

Our Instructors Are Amazing

We hope you enjoyed learning a bit about the passion and dedication that our instructors have for our students and the beauty industry. We take pride in not only the longevity of our institution but also in the people that make Jean Madeline Aveda Institute feel like a family. We are proud to provide an educational experience with a team who passionately and compassionately push our students toward their goals. We Are Jean Madeline. We invite you to learn more about what our culture of creativity, community, and continual learning can do for your future. Request Information Here.

If you've been wondering about how to start your career in beauty, we have the 5 steps you need to know. Click here to get the list!

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Philadelphia, PA 19147
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Philadelphia, PA 19104
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