For Jamie Giannetti-Palermo, teacher of Cosmetology, styling hair wasn’t just a fun hobby, it was a way to succeed. Jamie always loved playing with the hair on her dolls as a child, she even had a doll that grew hair that she could cut, style, and wash! However, she didn’t notice how much the study of cosmetology really meant to her until she started attending cosmetology classes at BTC in her junior year of high school.
“It gave me a purpose,” Jamie said. “And all other facets of my life started to fall into place. I started to do better in school, got along with my family better, everything fell into place because I had something that I was excited about.”
Until that point, Jamie was a self-proclaimed “average” student. However, cutting hair gave her a drive. She started working in a salon when she was 17, and continued to do so when she went to college after high school.
“My mom didn’t want me to go to cosmetology,” Jamie said, “but I begged and pleaded. She finally relented by saying I had to go to college for two years after I graduated.”
Jamie attended New York Institute of Technology and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Career and Technical Education. She juggled books with blowouts and classes with clippers, working in a salon while she got her degree to eventually teach others how to cut hair as well.
“I’m passionate about my craft,” Jamie said, “and I love what I do, but I know that I wanted to kick it up a step, and teaching was the step I took to help it go farther.”
Jamie completed her student teaching at Ward Technical Center, and upon graduation, immediately started substitute teaching through BOCES. As soon as a position opened up to teach adult education students, she seized the opportunity. Being a teacher lets her practice the same soft skills that she uses every day in the hair salon.
“I have a very caring and giving personality, other people’s needs come before my own.” Jamie said. “It’s something that I do with my clients in the salon; they come first before me, and my students come first before me. I have a very caring nature. I find something special about each of my students. I feel if I can touch them or if they learn a few good things from me, then I’ve done my job.”
Every day, Jamie shares a piece of herself in the classroom. With luck, her students aren’t leaving her class simply knowing how to cut hair. If they’re lucky, they’ll find their purpose, too.