Oak Park District 97 Superintendent Constance Collins was named Educator of the Year by the Midwest Region of the National Council on Educating Black Children.

The council, headquartered in Zion, where Collins served as superintendent before coming to Dist. 97, received the award at a ceremony Saturday in Rosemont. The award is given annually to an African-American teacher, administrator or counselor.

Collins first learned she would receive the award on April 17.

“I was really surprised and honored,” she said, “especially when anyone across the country could have been identified for the award.”

Collins was joined at the Saturday banquet by her husband, sister and Dist. 97 Board of Education member Julie Blankemeier. A parent from Irving who learned of Collins’ award at a PTO meeting also attended, which pleased Collins.

“I was really grateful that a parent wanted to attend. That really touched me.”

?#34;Terry Dean

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