Craig resident Dana Armstrong loves to learn. From that comes a similar love of teaching, which she will be able to put to good use starting this week.
Armstrong will begin as the massage therapy instructor for Colorado Northwestern Community College, with her first class scheduled for Tuesday. The new job is something of a return for her, having received her certification in the discipline from CNCC.
“I’ve always known that I wanted to help people and teach, and it all kind of goes hand in hand,” she said. “Going through those programs, I was able to learn and go out and use those skills and teach people while I had them as a client, but now I’m getting the chance to be an instructor.”
Armstrong also received a degree in esthetics — skin care — from the school’s cosmetology program and has taught in a smaller capacity within that field for the past two years.
Returning as an instructor to the place she received her education will be beneficial, Armstrong said.
“I know what helped me (as a student), and I’ve reached out to former students for feedback,” she said. “I want to help the program grow, and I think it helps that I’ve got a background in teaching.”
Armstrong was two semesters away from a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Colorado Mesa University before, as she puts it, she “stumbled across esthetics and massage.”
“I knew I wanted to teach that and not English,” she said. “I still think a book can change your life, but health can change and maintain your life.”
Her experience in the work world has involved beautification in spas in Steamboat Springs and her own business, D Spa, in Craig. Originally located on Yampa Avenue, D Spa soon will be moving to Trapper Fitness Center.
“I’m really ready to put my focus on massage, and I think that clientele will work out perfectly,” she said. “When you’re working out and exercising, you get sore muscles. There’s a lot of athletes that go there, and there’s a lot of prevention and care I can focus on.”
Erica Dreckman, CNCC’s director of cosmetology, said she thinks Armstrong will be a great fit for the program.
“The reason we hired her is her genuine desire to learn,” she said. “She teaches well, but she also learns from her students. She’s very engaged and very excited, and I think that will bring some great energy.”
Dreckman added that she hopes to further open the massage program’s services to the public and allow students to hone their craft.
“The desire’s out there, that’s for sure,” Dreckman said.
Armstrong said she hopes to keep going forward as a teacher, a business owner and even as a massage customer herself.
“My New Year’s resolution for myself was to get a massage every month this year,” she said.
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.