Robert Collins, the renowned principal of Hawthorn School District 73, passed away on September 28. His passing, as well as that of Vernon Hills, Illinois, and the nearby educational community, has left everyone there terribly devastated. He leaves behind a legacy that will continue to inspire and direct upcoming generations of educators, signalling the end of an era in education.
Kathy Hitz Collins, Robert’s wife, delivered the heart-wrenching news to friends and colleagues, underscoring the profound grief felt by the Collins family. In her poignant message, she shared, “Dear friends, it pains me to inform you that Robert peacefully passed away last night, surrounded by family. As my daughters, our family, and I navigate this difficult time, we appreciate your understanding and respect for our privacy. Further details regarding services will be shared in due course.”
Robert Collins’ career in teaching has been marked by unwavering commitment to quality, intense passion, and unwavering dedication. His LinkedIn page sheds light on the incredible path he took and the lasting impact he had on his students, coworkers, and the larger educational community.
Collins started his career as the department chair of social studies and the fine arts at a high school. It was immediately clear that his passion for education will lead to more obligations and chances to influence the lives of young students.
In 2008, Collins assumed the leadership of Hawthorn School District 73, and his career soared to new heights. He commenced as an assistant principal at Hawthorn Elementary South, where his leadership prowess began to shine. His steadfast commitment to nurturing an environment of educational excellence soon propelled him into the role of principal at Hawthorn Elementary North.
Nevertheless, it was his role as the proud principal at Hawthorn Middle School North that would define his legacy. Under his guidance, the school flourished, becoming a beacon of educational innovation and excellence. Collins’ leadership style was marked by his dedication to personalized learning and a curriculum that was both guaranteed and viable for all students. He firmly believed in the potential of every student and worked tirelessly to ensure they received the finest education possible.
Collins’ impact extended well beyond the confines of Hawthorn Middle School North. He was a highly sought-after speaker and presenter on the national stage, championing educational practices that placed students at the forefront. His insights and expertise graced symposiums held at prestigious institutions such as Harvard University and Syracuse University. He also graced the stages of national conferences in Orlando, Philadelphia, Austin, and Memphis, leaving audiences inspired and motivated to revolutionize education.
Throughout his professional life, he received numerous awards for his outstanding contributions to education. Collins was recognised for his outstanding leadership within the school community when he received the Lake County Illinois Principal Association Principal of the Year award. Furthermore, he earned respect as a member of the IPA legislation committee due to his commitment to supporting educational policies that benefited students.
Robert Collins’ dedication to pupils and the quest for knowledge remained unwaveringly anchored beneath the honours and accomplishments. His relentless pursuit of greatness was a defining characteristic of his academic career. He earned a Master’s Degree in School Leadership (Type 75) at Concordia University-River Forest, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to staying at the forefront of educational leadership practices. Prior to that, he earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education at Millikin University, showcasing his deep passion for both the arts and education.
It is impossible to exaggerate Robert Collins’ influence on schooling. He was more than just a simple administrator; he was a visionary teacher who appreciated the transforming potential of education. His legacy is being carried on by the innumerable students whose lives he touched, the colleagues he motivated, and the educational community that benefited from his leadership and wisdom.
Let us honour Robert Collins’ life and the enormous contributions he made to education while we grieve his departure. His commitment to individualised learning, backing for a solid curriculum, and unrelenting devotion to pupils will serve as a beacon for educators for many generations to come. In classrooms and beyond, the legacy of Robert Collins will forever shine as a beacon, leading us toward a brighter future for education.