Barbara Stackhouse is a retired teacher, having taught in the K-12 system in New York City for several years.

A Middletown native, her love for kids encouraged her to continue teaching a few years past retirement. The one hour-plus commute did not stand in the way of her passion. And now that she’s retired, she’s found a new passion: natural hair care and barbering.

What You Need To Know

  • Barbara Stackhouse is a retired teacher, having worked for 25 years as a speech and language provider for the NYCDOE, and now owns a hair salon in South Africa

  • Awaiting a return to South Africa after COVID-19, she's a student at The New York Master Barber Academy in Middletown

  • The organization places barbers in barbershops across the Hudson Valley at the end of an intense training period

With her loving husband, Lawrence, as her test subject, she enrolled as a student at the New York Master Barber Academy in Middletown, a non-profit organization teaching the skills of barbering.

"I’m in the natural hair care business. I've been in it a little over a year," she said.

Her hair salon is located in South Africa. COVID-19-related border lockdowns prevented her from being there to run her business, so she decided to add a new skill in the meantime.

"The truth of the matter is that staying home, you're not going to accomplish much of anything," she said, “unless you have a home business."

Seneca King, the executive director of the academy, is proud to train barbers so they too can start their own businesses across the Hudson Valley, and even around the world.

"I feel privileged to be part of her learning experience and taking it international. Hopefully, she can take some of the techniques and methods that we taught her and share it with the next person,” King said.

And now it’s Barbara’s turn — and Lawrence doesn’t mind one bit.

"It feels like it’s my birthday ... my wife is doing an excellent job," he said.

Stackhouse says she's proud to be trained in Middletown to be able to help make her South African clients feel good.