For some, teaching is a profession, for others like Brandie Freeman it is a calling.
Freeman, a science teacher at Woodland High School said as a child she had aspirations of being a professional musician, not a teacher, and during her first year at University of West Georgia she was well on her way, having earned a full scholarship to study musical performance.
Then something happened in the spring semester of her freshman year, she said.
“I started attending a Bible study with a former middle school science teacher of mine, Frankie Shaw [and] every time we talked I could tell how much she loved her students, and her passion intrigued me,” Freeman said. “Our conversations stirred something in my soul, and I remember sitting on my bunk bed in my dorm room one morning and just knowing that God was leading me to be a teacher.”
Freeman said that very day she walked into the College of Education Building at the college, changed her major and never looked back.
Freeman, who has been teaching for eight years, was recently named teacher of the year for the Bartow County School System and Woodland principal Melissa Williams said there is no educator more deserving of the honor than Freeman, who is truly dedicated to her students.
“In over 25 years as an educator, I have never met a teacher quite like Mrs. Freeman,” Williams said. “She is simply amazing. Brandie Freeman is passionate about whatever she is teaching and works tirelessly for her students. She is constantly looking for new innovations and approaches to instruction, striving to spark her students’ imagination and curiosity about the world around them through the incorporation of technology and hands-on experiments. Most importantly, she builds relationships with her students, encouraging them to care – about themselves, their peers, and the world around them.”
Freeman said she still considers herself “new” to the profession and was “surprised” by the honor but the Paulding County native said the distinction is validating.
“It is unspeakably validating to be selected as Bartow’s teacher of the year as I gave up a promising career in performing arts to pursue a degree in education after I felt that God was calling me into the profession,” Freeman said. “This honor is just one of the events that I can add to my testimony of how the Holy Spirit has worked in my life.”
Superintendent John Harper said Freeman is “a perfect example” of an outstanding teacher and he is “extremely pleased” with Freeman’s selection as teacher of the year.
“She has worked extremely well with the students at Woodland High and holds very high standards for her students,” Harper said. “She has a love for working with her students and at the end of the day is rewarded for all her successes with her students.”