Kimberly E. Freeman enjoys her view from the front.
It was as a teacher cadet many years ago that the Lexington Middle School world language teacher said she first experienced the power of spending time with students, and it’s a passion that she’s continued to fuel through the years.
“I love having a front row seat from which to watch a student discover the thrill of mastering something that seemed impossible, the joy in solving a problem that had been overwhelming, or the excitement of seeing connections between learning and life,” Freeman said.
That passion was celebrated recently when Freeman was named Lexington 1’s District Teacher of the Year. She was formally recognized last week at the annual Teacher of the Year Celebration. She will now compete for the state Teacher of the Year title.
Freeman has served as head of Lexington Middle School’s World Language Department since 2006 and specializes in Latin. She follows a long legacy of family members who have attended or worked in the school district since 1964.
“Nearly 50 years later tonight in this room, I stand before you so blessed to call this school district home,” she told the audience at the celebration. “So many of you have poured into me as my teachers and now as my colleagues. With you we will continue to put students first in Lexington and I’m so proud for that.”
Freeman said while she is honored by the Teacher of the Year selection, she is equally honored to work with so many others who put students first.
“This is a room full of people who have believed in you,” Freeman told students at last week’s presentation. “Look around and you’ll see your biggest advocates.”
Her co-workers and students say her role in that advocacy is evident in her classroom.
“Kimberly’s teaching style, I think first and foremost is caring,” said Lexington Middle School teacher Sin Guanci. “She absolutely cares about every single one of her students. She is very invested in her subject and really wants to instill an understanding in Latin but at the same time, she just likes teaching. She is a born teacher.”
Eighth-grader Ranta Patel said Freeman had instilled a deeper desire in her to learn.
“Ms. Freeman makes me want to learn because she tells us a lot of ways that Latin is actually useful in the real world and so that makes you more motivated to try your best in the class,” she said.
Freeman began teaching in 2004 after graduating magna cum laude and receiving a bachelor’s degree in education with a classical languages concentration from Furman University.
She is a member of the American Classical League, National Junior Classical League, South Carolina Foreign Language Teachers Association and South Carolina Middle School Association.
She has served as the school’s yearbook co-sponsor since 2005, as the public relations coordinator since 2006 and is a member of the district’s Whatever it Takes Team and World Languages Curriculum Writing Team and the South Carolina World Language Standards Writing Team.
Freeman said at the core of her philosophy of education is the belief that all students must learn.
“In our profession, educators often assert a belief that all students can learn,” she said. “I believe it is my job as a teacher to take that one step further. In my classroom, students are simply not allowed to choose not to learn.”