Guiding career paths for successful salon professionals: a Q & A with Summit Salon Academy’s Joni Jarrell

Joni Jarrell has been passionate about the salon industry for her entire career. The Business Report recently spoke with her about her role as Owner, Director and President of Gainesville’s Summit Salon Academy and about how her school prepares students looking to launch their own careers as salon professionals.


TBR: For those who may not be familiar, can you describe a little bit about Summit Salon Academy?

Jarell: We are a Redken Premier Academy that grounds our curriculum in the basics of Cosmetology overlaid with current trends. Our educational systems and programs are updated constantly to keep the student’s interests first and our educational quality high. We prepare our students to pass Florida State Boards and become licensed professionals employed in their desired field.

The school has operated for more than nine years with the objective of producing highly-trained and well-prepared graduates. We are constantly evolving as our industry is constantly evolving!

TBR: What is the typical curriculum for a Summit student, and how does the education they receive at Summit Salon Academy differ from other educational experiences?

Jarell: We offer full-time and evening classes for Cosmetology 1200 hours and evening classes for Full Specialist (skin and nails). The curriculum consists of both theory and clinical application.

Our defining factor is that we not only train students in the art of Cosmetology, Skin Care, and Full Specialist (skin and nails combined), we equip students with the business-building skills needed to be successful in our current business market. It’s about giving the students the business tools to allow them to go from here and provide a better life for themselves and their families.

While we cannot guarantee employment, our goal is to place as many students as possible in jobs and to have them working in and contributing to their community.

TBR: Can you describe how you came to hold your current role?

Jarell: I have been in my position since opening the Academy in March of 2007. The journey began as owner for 22 years of Designerline Hair Studio in Ocala. In 1998, I began working with Michael Nikolas, a consultant with Summit Salon Consulting who is now my business partner.

Through working with Michael and the Summit organization we were able to guide our staff of salon service professionals to work smarter, not harder, by developing business-building and tracking skills and helping them to become aware of the business side of our industry, not just the creative side.

Our salon always provided an associate training program to newly graduated stylists and when we incorporated the Summit Business Group to our salon education our staff potential exploded!

TBR: What is your favorite aspect of working as an educator in your industry?

Jarell: I think the thing I love most about teaching and being involved with education is the ability to give back to the industry that has time and time again reinvented itself and provided me with a beautiful career. The money we make in our life comes and goes, but how we feel about what we do and how it impacts others is our most worthwhile investment.

I value the opportunity to touch the lives of individuals new to this industry and to provide them with a path to follow so they can be successful. When a graduate returns to visit and they are so excited to let you know how amazing they are doing and how their career has taken off, it’s the most gratifying feeling. There is such pride in their accomplishment for the Academy, and for our incredible educators and staff.  

Summit Salon Academy is located at 6915 NW 4th Blvd. Suite B in Gainesville, 32607. They provide a wide array of hair, nail, waxing and skin services to clients, performed by students and supervised by licensed professionals. Walk-ins and appointments are accepted.  

Summit Salon Academy is also currently accepting new applicants, visit, or call (352) 331-2424 for more information.

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