December 21, 2023

Unity High School Biology Teacher Brian Collins is an Outstanding Educator

Unity High School Biology Teacher Brian Collins is an Outstanding Educator Featured Image

Brian Collins, a biology teacher at Unity High School in Balsam Lake, has been chosen as a WEA Member Benefits and WEAC Outstanding Educator. He will be recognized at the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball game vs. the Northwestern Wildcats at the Kohl Center on January 13.

In addition to teaching for 22 years, Collins is the co-founder of the Unity Ojibwe Language Club, the founder and coach of the Unity Powerlifting Team, and Unity’s Advanced Placement Biology teacher. He is a 2024 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year and is Wisconsin’s representative to the 2024 National Teacher of the Year program. He is a member of the Unity Education Association.

“I started teaching at the age of 31, a career-change teacher formerly a wildlife bio-tech,” Collins said. “No matter what I was doing or where I was working, I always found myself gravitating toward teaching roles. Teaching isn’t what teachers do. It is who we are.”

Collins is deeply committed to the Unity community and believes we get back what we contribute. Teaching is one part of his service to the Unity community, and community involvement and support help him teach better and live a better life.

“I am proud of my kids, Zach and Megan, my wife, Cindy, and the Unity School community,” Collins said. “I am proud of my accomplishments as a teacher, in the relationships I have been honored to build. Unity is an amazing community, and ‘work’ feels like another home there. My family and my school community motivate me to be the best I can be.”

Science and nature are a big part of Collins’s life away from school as well as in it. He is an accomplished bird surveyor, and during the summer he collects data on sensitive species for research. Being a biology teacher allows him to continue learning about topics he is passionate about, and he incorporates his passion into his teaching.

Collins said, “Birds are my life. Wilderness, adventure, and the interdependence of natural systems inspire me daily.”

Collins is a proud member of the Unity Education Association and WEAC. He says unions like his reinforce a sense of community and the security that comes with it. Being a union member helps him free his mind to teach.

“Nobody ever does anything alone. Our successes come from our relationships,” Collins said. “The support of WEAC gives me confidence and peace of mind.”

Do you or a Wisconsin public school employee you know deserve extra recognition as an Outstanding Educator? If so, complete this nomination form on the Wisconsin Badgers Athletic Department website. The form asks you to write a paragraph or two about what makes this educator stand out. Educators are welcome to nominate themselves.

The Outstanding Educator program is sponsored by the UW Athletic Department, WEA Member Benefits and WEAC.