MT Instructor is Educator of the Year

massage therapy

LaWanda Allen said she was quite surprised when she heard that she had been named a 2017 Educator of the Year by The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education, Biofreeze and BonVital. She knew she had been nominated by one of her peers. She had submitted an essay about her love of Massage Therapy. But, there were more than 1,000 entries. She really hadn’t thought much about it since submitting her essay.

“It kind of came out of the blue,” said Allen, a Massage Therapy instructor at Concorde’s campus in Southaven, Miss. “I was very surprised to win this award, but was very honored. The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) has been around for years. They’re highly regarded in my industry.”

Allen was one of two Educator of the Year recipients and the only teacher selected. Her award came with a lot of perks, including a one-year membership in AFMTE, a $1,000 stipend for travel and lodging at the 2017 AFMTE Conference and more than $250 in free products from Biofreeze and BonVital.

“I use Biofreeze a lot, so that was really nice,” Allen said.

Roots in Massage Therapy and Concorde

Allen has taught Massage Therapy for 10 years, the last two at Concorde – Southaven. And it’s no accident that she ended up teaching at Concorde. She graduated with honors and received her diploma in MT back in 2003 at Concorde’s Memphis, Tenn. campus.

“It’s been great for me to come back here and share my experience,” she said. “I’d been teaching a total of 18 years; I was doing childhood safety training for Shelby County (Tenn.) before going into Massage Therapy.”

Allen is the full-time caretaker for her mother and said it was when she and her mother experienced health issues that she considered switching careers to Massage Therapy. She decided on what then was the nine-month MT diploma program at Concorde – Memphis and has never looked back.

“It was the flexibility of the program that I really enjoyed,” she said. “That, and the diversity of the instructors I had. Allowing instructors to impart their experiences was really great. They gave all us students a variety of experiences that sparked my interest in the field even more.”

More than a Massage Therapy instructor

Allen said teaching at Concorde – Southaven, which opened in 2013, was the perfect way for her to be able to give back to the community, just as her instructors had. She initially started at Concorde part-time, but has since moved to full-time. She also is the campus’s Extern Coordinator.

A medical massage practitioner who works on health-related issues, rehabilitation from injuries and stress management, Allen also owns her own business and takes her services into clients’ homes, allowing her a flexible work schedule.

“I tell my students it’s well worth it,” she said. “I tell them, if you’re consistent, your clientele will be consistent.

“The way I see it, I’m able to do what I love. It is very rewarding.”

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Davina Thomas-Clark | Medical Assistant, Vocational Nurse graduate

“I have taken the MA program and the LVN program. Concorde is a wonderful school. There is a difference between passion and a paycheck, and most of my instructors had a passion for what they do. The program was challenging but well worth it. I love this college!”

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“Without the support of certain instructors … I would not have pushed myself to grasp the concepts and pass my boards on the first attempt. Once I passed my boards, it was less than one month after that I landed my first Respiratory Therapist job where I am currently working with so much joy every day.”

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“I decided to go to school because I was tired of working dead-end jobs. … When I found out I was pregnant, I realized that I needed a better life for me, for my child, for my husband, and just to better myself.”

Andrea Nolan | Dental Assistant graduate

“Knowing I could be working as a Dental Assistant in eight months was crazy to me! I loved going to class and would drive an hour there every day. I’m truly happy that I took the step to go to Concorde. It was the best thing I have done for my family.”