Spotlight on Southwest Michigan Educators: Sarita Collins

Southwest Michigan has been graced with educators who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of students, families, and communities. Among these luminaries stands Sarita Collins, whose career spans decades of service and advocacy within the realm of migrant education.

Sarita’s journey in education commenced in the summer of 1975 when she embarked on her professional odyssey as a testing aide for Project NOMAD. This early experience laid the foundation for her lifelong commitment to educational equity and inclusion. Her passion for serving diverse communities led her back to the Van Buren Intermediate School District (VBISD) in the 1980s through the Title VII Program, where she continued to make a profound impact.

In the early 1990s, Sarita took on the role of a bilingual teacher in Paw Paw, marking the beginning of her extensive involvement in Project NOMAD. Throughout the years, she dedicated her summers to serving as the HOME/secondary credit coordinator and STAAR out-of-state test administrator until 2022. Sarita’s steadfast dedication to migrant education was further evident during VBISD’s participation in the Migrant Binational Program. She proudly represented the district multiple times and conducted workshops for English teachers in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.

In November 2019, Sarita’s journey in education took another meaningful turn when she assumed a long-term migrant/English Learner (EL) substitute position at Covert and Lawrence. Shortly after, an opportunity arose at Decatur, prompting Sarita to apply for the full-time school migrant/EL teacher position. Her transition to Decatur underscored her unwavering commitment to advocating for students and families within the migrant community.

Sarita’s contributions extend beyond the classroom; she has served as a parent trainer for migrant education and Title III programs, amplifying her impact on educational access and empowerment. Additionally, her expertise as a Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) trainer and interpreter trainer has enriched educational practices and facilitated meaningful communication across diverse linguistic and cultural landscapes.

For Sarita, migrant education is not just a profession; it’s a calling—a calling rooted in empathy, compassion, and a deep-seated belief in the transformative power of education. Her tireless advocacy and unwavering dedication serve as a beacon of hope for students and families navigating the complexities of migration and language acquisition.

As we shine the spotlight on Southwest Michigan educators, let us celebrate Sarita Collins—a trailblazer, a champion of equity, and a pillar of strength for migrant communities. Her legacy serves as an inspiration to us all, reminding us of the profound impact that one individual can have in shaping the future of generations to come.