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Celebrating 40 Years of Cosmetology Education

In April of 1969, Ms. Shirley Dyer opened the door to cosmetology education in Claremore.

By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Education | Issue: July 2009

Shirley Dyer, former owner of Claremore Beauty College, sold the school to Denise Nelson and her husband Duane in 1996.

In April of 1969, Ms. Shirley Dyer opened the door to cosmetology education in Claremore and the surrounding areas when she established her first cosmetology school. Shirley went on to open cosmetology schools in Tahlequah, Shawnee, Sallisaw, Cushing, Pryor, Miami, Ponca City and Neosho.

Shirley Dyer became a hairdresser in 1960. She raised two daughters on her own and at one point owned four cosmetology schools. Shirley said the most devastating part of her career was when two of her schools burned – Miami and Ponca City. Both schools reopened six weeks later. The good certainly outweighs the bad times though; Shirley said she has met a lot of outstanding people. A true people-lover, the best thing about her job has been helping so many young women get off of welfare and out of abusive situations by allowing them to make their own living. “I would look at every student enrolled and think, ‘They’re going to do better for themselves.’”

In 1996, Denise and Duane Nelson purchased the Claremore school from Ms. Dyer. Denise was educated in both the basic and instructors course at Claremore Beauty College. Upon graduation, she found that there were no openings for an instructor at the school, so she went to Tulsa and was an instructor at Tulsa Academy of Hairstyling for over a year. Denise was then offered a vacancy instructor position at Claremore Beauty College. She was thrilled not only because she was living in Claremore, but because she really enjoyed working with Ms. Dyer.

After working with her for seven years, Shirley asked Denise what she was planning to do in the next few years. Denise commented that she did not know, and she was secretly puzzled about the question. A few weeks later, Ms. Dyer asked Denise the same question again. Denise asked Shirley why she kept asking her about her future plans, and that is when Shirley told her she wanted to sell the school to her.

Denise replied that she would love the opportunity to do so, but would have to talk to her husband first. “Since Duane has always been a supportive husband, he said that if I didn’t take the opportunity, I would always wonder what it would have been like to own a school,” said Denise.

The rest is history; they have owned the school since 1996 and have enjoyed the privilege of seeing many young people succeed in their lives. “It is thrilling to take a young person into the school and see the difference in one year’s time,” said Denise. “She can go from a quiet, insecure and unmotivated person to a confident, knowledgeable and successful person.”

Claremore Beauty College is located one block from the downtown area. It is in a one-story building with 3,300 square feet that can accommodate 30 students. The facility consists of one major clinic area, individual work stations, one large classroom, a library, and an administrative and counseling office.

Denise and Shirley are proud of all of their graduates and are thrilled to see them enjoy success in the growing field of cosmetology. Many of the Claremore area salons are owned and managed by Claremore Beauty College graduates. “It is such a joy to see each graduated student in town and hear about their success stories,” said Denise. “We are so proud of all of them.” Claremore Beauty College has educated over 1,500 students since 1969.

The school prides itself on an outstanding basic education, and the instructors feel it is very important that students understand the basics of everything they do. A good basic education will give them the freedom to make good choices in their client consultations. “Yes, the student may have to do a project over and over to accomplish the outstanding basics, but in the end they will be proud of their progress,” said Denise. “Every student will learn at a different level. Some students learn very quickly, and some need extra attention.”

Because Claremore Beauty College doesn’t overcrowd the school, keeping it to 15 to 20 students at any given time, the students have the privilege of one-on-one attention with the instructors. They also get to know the owners well; Denise and Duane Nelson are involved in every aspect of their education. The couple also owns Rumours and Rumours 2 Salons in Claremore.

For more information about enrolling in Claremore Beauty College, call (918) 341-4370 or go online to more information, contactClaremore Beauty College200 N. Cherokee Ave.Claremore, OK 74017(918) 

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About Author Sheryl Sowell

Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.

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