News > News > Wella Education Names 2016 National Instructor of the Year
Last updated: September 02, 2017

Wella Education Names 2016 National Instructor of the Year

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A Kansas hairdresser—who almost didn’t go to hair school because she was told she would never make money and was “too smart” for hairdressing—was just named Wella Education’s 2016 National Instructor of the Year. Danielle Markley of Hays Academy of Hair Design in Hays, Kan. has spent almost two decades working diligently to change the perception of the beauty industry.


“Cosmetology instructors are the first stop on a beauty student’s journey, and when instructors truly mentor their students anything is possible,” said Fabio Sementilli, VP of Wella Education North America.  “As an organization, we strive to not only reward but enable instructors to build students with the skills to have long sustainable careers through creative intelligence.”


Danielle’s journey began in 1997 in Hays. She completed two years at the local university studying psychology because she was “too smart” for beauty school. One day, her mom asked her a life-changing question: “If you won the lottery, what would you do?” The answer was easy—attend beauty school. And when her mom asked, “Why aren’t you doing that now?”, Danielle decided to go for it.


Now, Danielle co-owns Hays Academy with her sister Summer Melvin, brother-in-law Len Melvin and husband Eric Markley. The school started with 15 students and today has two locations and provides cosmetology training to approximately 100 students annually.


“I think we’re all created for a purpose in life, and I believe was born to teach,” says Danielle. “My passion is to provide an educational experience that not only provides great technical training but also teaches how to make money in this industry, truly transforming lives one student at a time. At Hays Academy, our goal is to graduate the most hirable, financially responsible students in the world.”


As Instructor of the Year, Danielle was awarded an all-expenses paid trip to attend Wella Professionals’ North American TrendVision Awards in Las Vegas where she will receive her award onstage.


Check out Danielle’s nomination video!