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Ms. Dona named 2011 Ultimate Teacher

July ’11Salon Success Instructor Dona Tottress-Moss has had a long and fruitful career in the beauty industry. She’s been an instructor for over 40 years, owned her own salon, styled hair for some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, and at one time was an examiner for the Bureau of Barbering and Cosmetology. Now Ms. Dona can add to her list of credentials — she’s been named the 2011 Ultimate Teacher by Supercuts.

Ms. Dona was nominated for the award by a former Salon Success student, Jacquie Gonzalez, who graduated in 2008 and now works for Supercuts in Los Angeles. In her nomination letter, Jacqui said Ms. Dona was a strict teacher, who always kept her students in line. Jacqui confessed she would often get in trouble for talking on her cell phone or not adhering to the dress code.

After being a state board examiner, Ms. Dona’s teaching style is strictly by the books. She does whatever it takes to ensure her students pass their licensing exam.  Jacqui said when she was having difficulty learning some of the different cutting techniques, Ms. Dona pushed her harder.

“Everything she could possibly do to make us pass the State Board, she did. A lot of girls hated her for it, but I respected her. If she wasn’t so hard on us, I wouldn’t have gotten my license,” Jacqui wrote in her letter.

Ms. Dona first became an instructor in 1970, shortly after she graduated from beauty school. Around the same time, she opened her own salon, Riches Coiffures, in downtown Los Angeles. She styled hair for Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, and even traveled on the road with The Temptations for two years. In 1977, Ms. Dona became an examiner for the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. In 2004, when the state of California stopped requiring licenses for teachers, she witnessed a spike in failure rates on the exam. That’s when Ms. Dona knew her expertise was needed back in the classroom and she joined the team at Salon Success Academies.

“I know I make a difference. I can see it in my students’ work,” she said.

Ms. Dona said she has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. She suffered a stroke in November and was back in the classroom by February.  Ms. Dona said she’s feeling healthy and blessed to be where she is today.

“I’ve had fun in my career. I wouldn’t do a single thing differently,” she said.

Ms. Donna will be celebrating her six year anniversary at Salon Success this month. She said she loves the staff and the team atmosphere where she works.

“Ms. Dona really is the Ultimate Teacher. She embodies exactly what we’re looking for in teachers at Salon Success. We’re so proud of her accomplishments and honored to have her as part of our team,” Vice President at Salon Success Academies Susan Turner said.

About Salon Success Academies

Salon Success Academy offers five locations in California’s Inland Empire, in Redlands, Fontana, Upland, San Bernardino, and Corona. Our mission at SSA involves caring for every student as a member of our family, furnishing the chance to finish their educational objectives as affordably as possible. SSA incorporates first-hand, real-world practice of the principles of cosmetology, skin care, and nail artistry. The campus teams with members of the beauty industry to educate our graduates on the technical and customer service skills they need to succeed in their careers.

For more information go to www.salonsuccessacademy.com or call 1-877-987-HAIR (4247).



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Our mission is to equip our students with the tools necessary to succeed in the beauty industry by providing exceptional technical education in the classroom and servicing our local communities. The training our students receive will enable them to successfully attain employment in the beauty industry and related fields.

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