Michael Collins received the 2017-2018 Richard T. Lowery Educator of Excellence Award for the Gillett School District. He was selected by the faculty. This is the second time that Collins has been honored with this award, sponsored by the Nicolet Oconto Retired Teachers Association (NORTA). Collins is currently in his 26th year, all teaching first grade, with the district. He attended UW-Parkside before transferring to UW-La Crosse. He graduated in 1992 with a bachelor of science degree in elementary education and a minor in school health education. After student teaching in La Crosse, Collins accepted a first-grade teaching position in the Gillett School District.