By Maya Pottiger
As an athletic training major, Kimberly Collins knew something wasn’t clicking.
“I knew I wanted to be involved in athletics or be active in general because that’s something I was all my life,” Collins said. “I played soccer, basketball and softball, and ran track — all those things. I was always an active kid, and I knew I wanted to do something with being active.”
She added education classes, and that’s when Collins found her perfect fit. Now a health and physical education teacher at Chesapeake High School, she has been nominated as one of the 10 semifinalists for Anne Arundel County Public Schools Teacher of the Year.
Collins’ students are able to immediately apply her lessons to their lives.
“More or less, they can use it right away. I get immediate feedback from kids,” Collins said. “It helps build the relationships because they see that what I’m teaching them, they can use in real-life right away and they can use for the rest of their lives.”
Recently, one of Collins’ students used the CPR lessons he learned in class to save someone’s life.
“You are really proud of kids when they’re able to use those things,” Collins said.
Due to the sensitive and personal nature of the topics discussed in Collins’ classes, students feel comfortable trusting her with problems they are facing outside the classroom.
“[They’re] coming to me to open up and say, ‘Hey, this is something that’s going on in my life, I need help.’” Collins said. “And for you, knowing that you make a difference in their life, that’s definitely something big to do.”
Chesapeake High School Principal Stephen Gorski said Collins is “forward thinking” in terms of trying to address key areas or current topics, and tries to make a connection with the kids.
“She builds great relationships with her kids, which is something we strive for as teachers to have those relationships,” Gorski said. “She uses that connection to really engage students in her classes.”
Collins is not a stranger to recognition. Last year, she was named MAHPERD (Maryland Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) Teacher of the Year. In 2007, her second year teaching, Collins received the Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce Educational Excellence Award for her work at George Cromwell Elementary and Ferndale Early Education Center.
Collins is active both in her school and around the county. At CHS, Collins is the assistant athletic director, and she serves on the wellness team and AVID site team. Within the county, Collins is the 4A East girls soccer representative for state soccer tournaments and the boys and girls soccer commissioner for Anne Arundel County.
“I am not someone who likes a lot of attention, so it’s very humbling that they nominated me for the award,” Collins said.
All of the semifinalists will be honored at the Excellence in Education Awards dinner on April 25.