Avila Now

December 1, 2021

Q&A: Samantha Collins MA.Ed, ’19 and 2020 Kansas Horizon Award Winner

Samantha Collins
Samantha Collins.

Samantha Collins, MA.Ed is a 2019 graduate of Avila University’s School of Education. A career-changer, Collins went through Avila’s initial teaching certification program before continuing on to earn her Master’s degree.

“When I decided to make a switch to be an educator, I knew I wanted to find an accredited, rigorous program with a strong reputation that would help successfully prepare me to be a great teacher,” said Collins.

Now a middle school teacher in the Olathe (Kansas) Public School District, Collins teaches literacy and journalism to sixth through eighth-graders. “I would not be the teacher I am today without my experience at Avila.”

Congratulations on your 2020 Kansas Horizon Award!

Thank you! Now that I am in the middle of my fourth year of teaching, I know that teaching is definitely the career for me thanks to my Avila roots. I was lucky enough to earn the award in 2020. Only 32 new educators earn this award in the entire state of Kansas. This award not only validated my career switch but also showed me the value of my Master’s degree and everything I learned at Avila.  

(The Kansas Horizon Award is a Kansas State Department of Education program that identifies and recognizes representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state).

What’s next for you?

 I plan to be a classroom teacher for a couple of more years. I plan to get certified in ELL (English-Language Learner) teaching and become an ELL teacher within my school district.

What made Avila’s Master’s of Education program special to you? 

I formed many good relationships with Avila’s faculty and staff. Dr. Natalie Cobb was my student teaching advisor during my time in the teacher certification program. She wrote numerous letters of recommendation to help me land my first teaching job. She also wrote a short essay about my teaching abilities for my Kansas Horizon Award. Dr. Sue Ellen Mccalley taught me more about the science of learning than I ever could have imagined. Even though I graduated a couple of years ago, I still refer to my notes from her course. Cory Roup was an excellent advisor who helped me graduate quickly.

I was lucky to have only great experiences with all of my professors.

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