WISCONSIN — A Balsam Lake, Wis., science teacher was selected as Wisconsin’s representative in the Council of Chief State School Officers’ (CCSSO) National Teacher of the Year Program (NTOY).

Brian Collins has taught sciences classes — including general biology, AP biology, human anatomy and physiology, ecology, zoology and ornithology — at Unity High School for more than 22 years.

He was selected to be Wisconsin’s NTOY representative by a committee of educators, partner organizations and past Wisconsin Teachers of the Year.

As a state representative, Collins will join other State Teachers of the Year for a year, embarking on professional learning and development programs. Out of the group of state teachers, one will be selected as the National Teacher of the Year.

“Brian is an exemplary educator, and I am so excited that he will be Wisconsin’s representative to the National Teacher of the Year program,” said State Superintendent Jill Underly. “His energy, passion and commitment to his students and community are inspiring. He would be the first to say that he is just one part of the interconnected ecosystem that is his school; I would respond that he plays a key role in fostering such an inclusive and rich community. I am grateful to him for his leadership in the Unity School District, in Wisconsin, and now at a national level.”

Collins was named one of five 2024 Wisconsin Teachers of the Year earlier this year.

Collins works with his students outside of the science lab. He helped found Unity’s Ojibwe Language Revitalization Club, coached football, coached powerlifting and has chaired the Professional Staff Development Committee.

Collins said he has a love for birds and photography. He works as a contract biologist during the summers for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. He then brings his summer projects into the classroom to share with his students.

“I am so very honored to represent our state on the national level as Wisconsin’s National Teacher of the Year representative,” Collins said. “Good teaching and learning ultimately comes from trust, teamwork and a sense of safety as we build strong relationships in the classroom and across the school community. I love seeing education at work in the quality of a person’s life and in the strength of the community. I am eager and excited to serve as our state’s representative, both as a teacher and as a lifelong learner.”


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