Black leather chairs with chrome accents stand at attention in front of shiny new mirrors with globe lights hanging overhead. Shelves filled with haircare products cover a wall, fronted by a white marble check-in desk. A line of black sinks — with chairs in front, ready for hair washing — stretches out along another wall.
It may sound like a typical barber shop, ready for customers to get their regular trim. But this particular shop is actually a classroom located at Westfield High School and is home to Spring ISD’s first-ever barbering program.
“We are super excited because we are the only district in this region that has a barber school,” Assistant Superintendent of High Schools Rebecca Brown said. “Not only is it a barber school where kids graduate and have their certification ready to get a job, but when they finish here and graduate they also get an associate degree. It’s a double whammy.”
The four-year program centers around a trio of year-long courses: a customer service class for 9th-graders, Barbering 1 for sophomores, and Barbering 2 for juniors. Once students have completed the required amount of hours and received their barbering license, they can participate in career prep programs their senior year, allowing them to attend classes and work professionally as a fully-licensed barber.
The program is a product of a partnership between Spring ISD and Eros Shaw, a local barber and entrepreneur. A product of Spring ISD himself, Shaw owns and operates several barber shops as well as the Mystros Barber Academy. He has envisioned a similar program for years, with the Spring ISD version taking off last year.
“I knew that once a school district looked at it from the kids’ perspective, the student perspective, they would see the value of the program,” Shaw said. “I am glad that Spring ISD saw it from that perspective and is moving forward.”
The program began last year, with a cohort of 14 students participating. This year, the program is completely full, with 25 students entering into the academy. Though students are currently attending classes at Mystros Barbering Academy, the custom-built barbering academy and laboratory at Westfield High School should open in the coming weeks, where classes will then take place full time.
Currently, the program is only offered to students zoned to Westfield High School, though plans are in place to expand the program, if successful. Interested middle school students slated to attend Westfield should contact their school’s counselor for more information.
The barber academy is just one offering from the district’s Career and Technical Education programming, which Assistant Superintendent Brown said is a vital part of creating a world-class education system in Spring.
“The greatest thing about CTE in Spring is our pathways,” Dr. Brown said. “These provide our students with the opportunity to figure out what they want to do, and how to get there. We have such a variety for our students, not only for high-performing students, but those who also need extra support or who need guidance on where to go with their future.”
It is a program that Shaw believes can change lives and create opportunity for students, just like it did for him.
“The biggest and the greatest part of this job is getting to be creative, but also fulfilling a purpose,” Shaw said. “You have the opportunity that, every time someone is in your chair, you can change a life. You never know who is going to sit in your chair, and you never know what they’re dealing with. A barber shop is a family. It’s a family experience. But when you’re here on a daily basis, it’s a beautiful thing.”