Position: Kindergarten Teacher
School: Lake Cormorant Elementary School
School District: Desoto County School District
City, State: Lake Cormorant, Mississippi
About the Nominee: Rosemary Collins was nominated by a member of her community, LeKesha Perry. Mississippi has one of the highest out-migration rates in the country. Many attribute the out-migration rate to lack of opportunities through art, culture, education and economics. Ms. Collins rebuffs these statistics. She is a proud Mississippian from the Delta. Ms. Collins dedicated her life to teaching others very early in her life and committed herself to education when she was a teen. Ever since then, she made it a mission to educate students and provide them with infinite possibilities.
Ms. Collins and her nominator first met over two years ago. One of the first things Ms. Collins mentioned was that she is an example for children, parents and the community at large. She has a unique ability to work within her school's community. As a kindergarten educator, she works diligently to include others in teaching students, whether they have a child in her class or not. Oddly enough, she invites the community in to help educate children, but it is the community who receives the education.
Ms. Collins wears her pride of Mississippi and the Delta on her sleeve. When asked why she hasn't left the area, she happily responds, "If I leave, and if all of our talent continues to leave, then what do our children have to look up to? What do they have to look forward to?" Consequently, she moves to bring her history and upbringing into her classroom. She talks about the challenges she experienced as a 5 and 6 year old. She shares her stories with her students, their parents/caretakers and the community at large. Ms. Collins shares her stories because she wants to impart hope and foster opportunity for children who come from one of the poorest areas in this country. She also brings with her a global perspective to teaching, meaning she takes her children, via technology, to places around the world to show them what life can be like for them. For that reason, Ms. Collins is a LifeChanger for so many. There are many factors associated with providing students with high quality education, such as fostering an inclusive learning environment filled with positivity, and providing students with the vision and possibilities of all they could ever be.
Ms. Collins is a learner's dream - an educator who is committed to staying in her community to prepare the next generation of leaders. She uses an effective grassroots approach to doing so, as she brings the community and the world to her classroom. At least, for these early learners, they get a great start towards understanding and becoming aware of the infinite possibilities that learning can offer them. There is no greater teacher than the teacher who is willing to not only guide the way, but show you the way.