Stats: Married for 19 years to Charles Collins; one son, Jamal, who will be a junior at Harding Senior High School this fall; two dogs, Fawna and Jazzy
Favorite pastimes: An avid reader and quilter. “In my off hours, my family and I love accessing the amazing resources in St. Paul; the Battle Creek area is a regular place we visit for walks with the dogs, as well as the Como Zoo, one of our favorite places. We also love to go to the movies.”
Favorite books: “I loved The Hobbit and the Tolkien trilogy but the Harry Potter series is probably my all-time favorite. I can be found reading something every day. One of my favorite genres is mysteries.”
What she’s reading now: Kin by Christi Stewart-Brown. “This is a book my son and I are reading together. It is about a teenager who discovers he is adopted and goes to find his birth family.”
What she remembers from her own time in middle school: “The amazing teachers. I had great teachers who cared about whether or not I did well in school. This is what I needed to successfully complete middle school.”
Advice she would give to her new middle-school students: 1. “Rely on your teachers to support your success in school. I have met the Murray teachers and they care about students. They are dedicated, talented and are working hard in preparing for an amazing year at Murray.”
2. “Try something new. There are a lot of things students can try in middle school. Middle school was where I tried music and softball for the first time and I loved doing both and met friends I otherwise wouldn’t have met.”
3. “Be kind to everyone, respect difference and take a stand when others don’t.”
The Murray Junior High School community will experience two new changes this fall, as the school transitions to a grade 6-8 middle school and brings a new principal in from outside the district.
Stacy Theien-Collins, who lives in St. Paul and has a son enrolled in St. Paul Public Schools, has worked as an administrator for the East Metro Integration District for several years.
A native of Brainerd, Minn., Theien-Collins began her education career teaching special education in North Dakota. She moved on to a job in the St. Louis Park school district, where she worked in special education and as a dean for more than 18 years. She also spent time as an integration specialist with the Minnesota Department of Education.
“I quickly decided that I missed more direct contact with students and teachers and became the AVID [Advancement Via Individual Determination] district director for Minneapolis Public Schools,” she said.
Theien-Collins chose the field of education because she has a passion for learning, she said.
“I never remember wanting to do anything else; there wasn’t another choice that made any sense,” she said.
“I believe that education is the foundation of success and learning is lifelong. As an educator, it is my goal to make a difference in the world through education for all students. All children should have the opportunity to receive the best education available no matter their socio-economic status or race. By providing a quality education, we have opened the world to possibilities for all.”