Oklahoma City – Superintendent Aaron Collins may have relocated from Kentucky, but he’s no stranger to Oklahoma. He is a 1999 graduate of Oklahoma Christian University (OC) in Edmond, Oklahoma where he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Education. In 2014, he received the School of Education Distinguished Alumni award.
While at OC, he majored in history and minored in education. His mom was dorm director at OC at the time and encouraged him to enroll. He didn’t know it yet, but he was about to embark on a journey to excellence in education.
Inspiration was drawn from several professors whose influence on Collins had lifelong impact. History Professor John Thompson helped Collins develop a love of Oklahoma History.
“Dr. Thompson relayed the importance of education, what it means to lead, the courage to do what is right and that all students deserve the opportunity to an education,” said Collins.
Not only did Professor Thompson have a significant impact on Collins, he was reknowned for his impact on the university. In 1998, Thompson received the university’s Gaylord Chair of Distinguished Teaching. After his death, OC established the John Thompson Leadership Program named in his honor.
Collins said he owes a great deal of gratitude to Dr. Thompson and his encouragement to always be student-focused.
Former OC Professor of Education also made a strong impression on Collins. Robin Miller is currently the associate commissioner at the Oklahoma State Department of Education under Joy Hoffmeister. Collins said he appreciated Miller’s guidance and servant attitude when it came to being student-focused and understood how relationships impact success.
Professor of Education Dr. John Vincent, retired since 2012, taught Collins the power of relationships. Vincent taught a basic class for teachers that involved lesson preparation, curriculum and work leading into student teaching.
“Dr. Vincent taught me that everyone is important no matter their role and that it’s our job to help move students forward,” said Collins.
“Aaron was always careful to try to reason through things talked about in class and he was very quick to pick up on what was discussed,” Vincent said. “What I appreciated about Aaron is that he would stop by my office to continue a discussion from class. He was deeply concerned and really wanted to learn; not just for a grade. He enjoyed after class discussions with his professors so much that his first thought was to become a professor. We had several talks about this and I advised him to consider school administration. It didn't take him long to achieve that goal. Now with his new position in Oklahoma education, he has confirmed the potential we saw in him years ago,” Vincent continued.
In 1999, Collins was hired as head junior varsity (JV) coach and assistant varsity coach for OC’s women’s basketball team under Coach Stephanie Findley.
“I always knew Aaron could excel in whatever he chose to do. He is one of the friendliest people I know. His enthusiasm for life and his never-ending energy were ever present. He never met a challenge he didn’t like, and would not take no for an answer. A strong business sense, a thirst for learning and selflessness were traits I thought would carry him a long way," said Findley. "I still miss some of the things he brought to our program all these years later. One of my all-time favorites!”
Once Collins accepted Metro Tech’s offer, it made sense to call on OC as he returned to Oklahoma. The university allowed him to live in student housing until his family could relocate to Oklahoma.
“OC could not be more accurate in their tag line OC is Home,” Collins enthused, “Now, Oklahoma is home!”
Metro Technology Centers has four campuses offering short-term, career and customized business training. Campuses are located in South Oklahoma City, Northeast Oklahoma City, the Will Rogers Airport and Downtown Oklahoma City. www.metrotech.edu