Educator Profile    Educators

Sarah Collins (ME '22)


Patricia A. Duran School
Hermon, ME

Subject(s) taught: Math, Science
Grade(s): 4

At the time of the Award, Sarah Collins was:

Patricia A. Duran School
Hermon, ME

Subject(s) taught: Science
Grade(s): 4

Biographical Information

Sarah Collins is growing the next generation of scientists at Patricia A. Duran School in Hermon, Maine. The school’s fourth grade science teacher, Collins secured a Maine Environmental Education Grant to develop an outdoor classroom and garden “lab” where children learn about soil quality and plant growth. Students found fallen trees that became raised beds, and Collins solicited donations of soil and seeds from the community. Growing vegetables helps cement students’ understanding of where their food comes from, and produce from the garden ends up on the menu in the school cafeteria. Because Duran is in a rural area near Bangor, Collins uses technology to expand students’ experiences beyond the classroom, arranging virtual meetings with scientists in a multitude of locations and occupations. Her young scientists have learned from a wildlife ecologist studying coyote behavior in South Carolina, a Hawaiian volcanologist, and a scientist from a local university as she performed experiments in Antarctica.

Dedicated, empathetic and determined to reach every student, Collins uses multiple methods of assessment to encourage children to express their scientific reasoning and understanding. Students write focus questions, record and discuss observations, make drawings, analyze data, and perform self-assessments using notebook entries and checklists. Collins works with the University of Maine’s Research in STEM Education (RiSE) Center, bringing research-based, hands-on learning experiences back to Duran. She worked with Duran’s media specialist to develop a 3D computer design club and has presented at the Maine Science Teachers Association’s annual conference on the use of student notebooks in the science classroom. The project-based learning module on habitats Collins developed for the Maine Department of Education’s MOOSE (Maine Online Opportunities for Sustained Education) platform has been used by students across Maine, around the U.S. and internationally.

Collins partners with parents to keep families involved in their children’s learning. During the pandemic, she researched avenues to get resources into students’ hands, led frequent virtual field trips and found accessible, hands-on science lessons students could execute at home.

A graduate of the University of Maine Orono, Collins earned a bachelor’s in elementary education in 2008 and a master’s in literacy education in 2014.

Press release: Hermon Teacher Honored with Prestigious Milken Educator Award and $25,000

Related Connections

Article: "Here’s to What’s Next!": Takeaways from the 2023 MEA Forum

Article: Spotlight: Sarah Collins (ME '22)

Educator Quote:

"I teach because it's fun every single day. It's wild and..." (read more)

Sarah Collins In The News

How These Teachers Center Student Voice in Science Class
Education Week  |  Dec 27, 2022  |  Bethesda, MD

4Th-Grade Teacher in Hermon Wins $25K Educator Prize
Bangor Daily News  |  Nov 11, 2022  |  Bangor, ME

Fourth Grade Teacher Sarah Collins '08, '14G Honored With Prestigious Milken Educator Award
The University of Maine  |  Nov 04, 2022  |  Orono, ME

Hermon Science Teacher Gets High Honors; Wins $25K and Named Top Educator
WBZN-FM  |  Townsquare Media  |  Nov 02, 2022  |  Brewer, ME

LISTEN --> A Hermon Fourth Grade Science Teacher Has Won This Year’s Prestigious Milken Educator Award
WNSX-FM  |  Nov 02, 2022  |  Ellsworth, ME

WATCH --> Hermon Teacher Gets Surprise of a Lifetime
WABI-TV  |  CBS  |  Nov 01, 2022  |  Bangor, ME

WATCH --> Hermon Teacher Wins National Educator Award
WLBZ-TV  |  NBC  |  Nov 01, 2022  |  Bangor, ME

Teacher Surprised with $25,000 Award
WFVX-TV  |  FOX  |  Nov 01, 2022  |  Bangor, ME

Additional Information


2014 M.S., Literacy Education, University of Maine

2008 B.S., Elementary Education, University of Maine