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SCS Teacher Receives National ‘Inspirational Teacher’ Award

March 26, 2015 483 views

Melissa Collins, a second grade teacher at John P. Freeman Optional School, has been announced as a recipient of the 2015 Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award. Collins is one of 13 teachers nationwide to receive this prestigious award that recognizes teachers for their “extraordinary impact on the lives of students.”
“Teachers define us,” stated Stephen Sondheim. “Good teachers are touchstones to paths of achieving more than we might have otherwise accomplished, in directions we might not have gone.”
Collins was nominated for the award by a former student, Gerita Perry. In her nomination letter, Perry described how Collins embraced students and helped instill lessons that would help them succeed in the classroom and in life.
“Long after my time [at John P. Freeman], I return often to see Dr. Collins. She continues changing lives,” she wrote. “She has continued to change mine as she checks in with me from time to time, ensuring that I am on the path toward my goal of becoming a nurse. Thanks to Dr. Collins, I am a proud graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and am on my way to nursing school.”
The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award was established by the Kennedy Center in 2010 in honor of world-renowned composer Stephen Sondheim. The award program is open to all teachers in K-12 schools, colleges or universities.
“The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award is a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on the terrific work teachers do in their communities every day,” said Darrell M. Ayers, Vice President of Education and Jazz at the Kennedy Center. “We see the difference teachers can make first hand through our work in schools across the country, and are grateful for all they accomplish.”

In addition to receiving the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award, Collins will also receive a $10,000 grant.

For more information on the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award, visit


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Published: December 31, 1969

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