Say Hello To Richard Collins | Chief Academic Officer
The first question many ask is how did this Dean of Arts and Humanities from Bakersfield, California end up in the halls of NOCCA?
Dr. Collins’ journey to NOCCA was destined on many levels. For instance, after NOCCA moved to its riverfront location in 2000, Richard worked with our own Creative Writing Department and provided direction and a place for students to meditate at the Zen center he led in the Marigny. Even then, from these interactions with students and faculty, he knew that NOCCA was not a typical high school, but something very special. He wondered if one day he may have another chance to work with the school. Lucky for NOCCA he did.
Richard’s studies and workings as a Fulbright Scholar, college professor and teacher of English, translation, Zen, art history and humanities, have brought opportunities at LSU, Xavier University, and also Britain and Eastern Europe, from Algiers Point to the University of Bucharest, and many locations in between.
His wife, Leigh, shares his passions, and being a Louisiana native she has always centered him, bringing their family back to the south. He jokes that Leigh knew that the NOCCA job was a done deal when Richard actually took his first selfie with the Drama students he was interacting with as part of his NOCCA interview.
So, why NOCCA? Well, Leigh was ready to complete her doctorate in Social Work at Tulane, his daughter was just about to begin high school, and he was ready for a new challenge after his successes at California State University, Bakersfield. He started to investigate opportunities back in Louisiana and in the search he touched base with NOCCA. He knew the job of Chief Academic Officer was a good match for him.
Richard wants to use his specialized skill set to help NOCCA become an even better version of itself, by helping the faculty, staff, and students to center in many ways.
He explained that his experience with our faculty was one of the main reasons he chose to pursue the opportunity. He is impressed by and drawn to the fact that the school is rich with commitment, intelligence, dialogue, critique, and reflection. Once his daughter was accepted into 9th grade at Ben Franklin High School, he knew everything was in place for this next journey.
Richard is actively involved with the New Orleans Zen Temple as a Zen teacher and is very excited about his new home being renovated in the Central Business District.
Located in the front office, he welcomes any student or family member to stop by and say hello. He also will be greeting and welcoming guests at parent nights and student events.