Changing the World Through Children's Literacy

Changing the World Through Children's Literacy

Korey Collins (’06)

Korey Collins is not your average dot-your-“i’s”-and-cross-your-“t’s” English teacher. He has an exceptional passion for children’s literacy. Collins was an Elementary Education major at CSU and later earned his Master of Education in Reading from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania.

Local Influence, National Recognition

Collins taught at Waverly Elementary School in Pennsylvania for six years. He was one of only 27 teachers in the nation selected to serve on Scholastic’s Reading Club Teacher Advisory Panel in 2015. He uses innovative techniques to encourage literacy, such as hosting a “Book Madness” tournament for students using a bracket system similar to the NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament.

New Beginnings

Korey Collins and his wife Stacey (Simjian, ’06) have five children ranging from ages  1 through 8—Natalya, Gianna, Korey, Mariah and Kameron.
Korey Collins and his wife Stacey (Simjian, ’06) have five children ranging from ages 1 through 8—Natalya, Gianna, Korey, Mariah and Kameron.

During an educator conference organized by the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia, Collins and a colleague stayed to clean up the auditorium after a day of sessions. “Servant leadership was a lifestyle I adopted from Coach Mike Show (’92) during my time at CSU that I have strived to allow to permeate every aspect of my life,” Collins explains. In the midst of their janitorial service, “America’s Educator” Ron Clark took notice of their servitude and casually offered Collins a fifth-grade math teaching position at the academy. Collins politely declined and continued with the project at hand, not thinking much of the offer.

The following night of the conference, Clark joined Collins’ table during an event and began a casual conversation. After a while, Collins inquired about the school’s interview process, and Clark nonchalantly said, “Well, I am actually interviewing you right now.”

After learning of Collins’ passion for literacy, Clark created a fifth- and sixth-grade language arts teaching position specifically for the CSU alumnus. This time, Collins accepted the offer. “At the Ron Clark Academy, we have thousands of educators visit each year, but when Korey Collins entered our school, he stood out above the rest,” admits Ron Clark. “He has a strong desire to affect the lives of children, and his compassion, intellect and strong character make him a phenomenal role model and individual. We are honored to have him as part of the RCA team, and we are excited about the impact he is going to have as he joins our efforts to improve education across the country for all children.”

How to Change the World

What advice would he give to others about being a creative world changer? Collins points to Kevin DeYoung’s statement in the book, “Just Do Something.” “So the end of the matter is this: Live for God. Obey the Scriptures. Think of others before yourself. Be holy. Love Jesus. And as you do these things, do whatever else you like, with whomever you like, wherever you like, and you’ll be walking in the will of God.” Collins adds, “When believers are obsessed with living according to those truths, we will certainly see the change in the world that God desires to see!”

“What I have come to value most from my CSU education is the Bible training I received and playing basketball under Coach Mike Show’s leadership. He taught me the true meaning of applying the academic truths I received in class in a real-world setting.”

Jessica Eddy
Class of 2019 Communications-Writing Major

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