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2019 Honoured Educator - Terry Freeman

Posted on 07/08/2019
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Terry Freeman

Mr. Freeman was born and raised in Medicine Hat where he attended Vincent Massey and CHHS schools.  In 1981 Mr. Freeman graduated from the University of Lethbridge with an Education Degree.  He obtained a Master’s Degree in Administration and Curriculum in 1985 from Gonzaga University. Mr. Freeman began teaching with Medicine Hat School District #76 in 1981 at Montreal Street Elementary School (where he met his wife, Carolyn in the staff room) and remained there for 5 years.  He then moved on to Webster Niblock Elementary School for two years teaching grades 5 and 6.  The Achievement in Motion Program (Gifted Education) was his next stop for four years. He then spent 2 years at Ross Glen School.  It was here that he received the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. His next transition was establishing River Heights School as a Magnet School where he taught grade 6 and as well taking on the duties of the school Vice Principal.  Mr. Freeman then moved to a position at Central Office as the district’s AISI Coordinator.  It was in this position Mr. Freeman began his work with students, teachers and administrators across the district.  In time this position would evolve into Mr. Freeman becoming the District’s Director of Programs and Instruction for the next 6 years.  He would end his career as a district Optimal Learning Coach mentoring teachers and administrators and continuing to significantly impact learning and instructional practice in division classrooms. 

Mr. Freeman views teaching and learning as a process rather than a product; a process that requires a teacher to be a passionate continuous learner who has an inherent need to learn the craft and recognize and respond to the complexities of the teaching and learning process. His journey to become that teacher began early in his career when he came to a turning point; quit teaching or begin to transform his thinking about learning and teaching that involved engaging and challenging students to encourage them to become independent and enthusiastic learners. During that journey Mr. Freeman’s foundational beliefs about learning and teaching would guide his work for the rest of his career.  The development of these foundational beliefs would include his work in establishing a “magnet school” with colleagues, Sharon Allan, Grace McDougall and Gloria Schirok at River Heights Elementary School. The pedagogical philosophies revolved around creating learning environments based on critical and creative thinking, problem solving, thematic and project-based learning, and the use of meaningfully integrated technology.  In his book, Leading Edge, Dr. Roy Wilson offers that River Heights Magnet school “is arguably the most interesting innovative initiative of the mid 1990s”.  Mr. Freeman’s thinking and learning would also be impacted by his work with Barry Bennett which exposed him to effective, alternative teaching strategies; Kagan the power of effective collaborative engagement to enhance student learning, and Tribes transforming classrooms into supportive learning communities.  He continues his work with Tribes as a facilitator working with other school districts across Western Canada.

Mr. Freeman’s career exemplifies a passionate professional whose practice remains focused on being that elbow to elbow mentor for staff and students alike.  His knowledge and experience become readily apparent whenever he is in a classroom working with all learners.  He remains an enthusiastic advocate for the creation of varied learning environments such as Community Classrooms and science Discovery Days which provide opportunities for students to excel outside the traditional classroom setting. Since his retirement Mr. Freeman continues to be that avid reader, continuous learner and contributor to the teaching profession.  He is a practicum advisor for Mount Royal University, mentoring student teachers, is continuing his Tribes work and working with publishers developing resources for new curriculum as well as substitute teaching for our school division.  His other retirement activities include a lot of traveling, maintaining his running schedule and getting to that list around the house that he has never been able to get to.  Mr. Freeman is proud to have taught his two children, Meagan and Mark, and has now taught with them. Medicine Hat Public School Division is very pleased and proud to recognize Mr. Terry Freeman as the 2019 honoured educator of our school division.

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