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Kim Freeman

4th Grade Elementary Teacher

It's the holiday season and the end of a busy day in Kim Freeman's fourth-grade classroom; a time when teacher and kids alike anticipate the two-week break that now lies only days ahead. Kids are busy stuffing their bags with homework, with the excited energy that precedes end-of-day dismissal over the p.a. system. Amidst it all, Freeman shares words of encouragement, hugs and frequent "I love yous" before and as her students fly out the door. They are words her students know well, coming from this Heritage teacher who believes that her loving approach may make as big an impact as anything she teaches. "We just have no idea how much of an impact we have on kids," she explains. "The cool part is that we can impact them for Jesus here."

Freeman's 28-year career in education has at different times placed her in first-, third- , fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms. Fourth grade, she says, is her favorite. "At this age, they still love their teachers. I get hugs every day," she says. "In fourth grade, they're learning to be self-sufficient." For six of her 23 years at Heritage, Freeman served as assistant principal for grades five through eight. She enjoyed the administrative role, but missed teaching and the daily interaction with her students. She returned to the classroom in 2008 and to the joy she finds in her profession.

We just have no idea how much of an impact we have on kids. The cool part is that we can impact them for Jesus here.

As co-lead teacher for the fourth grade, Freeman heads up the language arts curriculum that includes reading, writing and grammar. Reading is her passion. Throughout the school year, fourth-graders read nine to 10 novels, so her own personal reading list primarily includes potential titles that she evaluates for use in the classroom. Her greatest instructional pleasure comes in helping her students learn to identify biblical applications and themes in literature. She's thrilled when books make a student's Christmas wish list. Freeman even manages to make grammar interesting, sometimes doing an occasional cartwheel during class, to get their attention.

For years, Freeman was simultaneously a Heritage mom and teacher. All three of the family's children graduated from the school (Cassie in 2004, Brennan in 2006 and Claire in 2009). Both daughters followed their mom's career path into education and Brennan followed his father's original footsteps in accounting. Freeman's husband, Jeff, is Heritage's chief executive officer.

She says that Heritage friends and colleagues make the school, in a very real sense, her second family. "We have such a bond in Christ," Freeman explains. "I love what I do here. I love the parent support that we receive. I love being able to share Jesus in everything we do. I just couldn't be anywhere else."