Quinton Andre Freeman comes from a family of educators. His wife, Adrienne, is a middle school principal. His parents, now a retired county agent and a retired special education teacher, met while student teaching, and his mother urged him to get a teaching certificate as a fallback plan after college graduation.
“What was supposed to be one year as a teacher in a 7th-grade life science classroom became five, then about the same number of years as an instructional coach in Houston,” he said. “I always had an inkling that, at least in part, teachers become teachers because of the teachers they interact with day-to-day.”
Both as a beginning teacher and someone who often supported teachers new to the profession, I felt Holmes (my one-year, non-traditional prep program) prepared me for many things. Yet, I always had an inkling that, at least in part, teachers become teachers because of the teachers they interact with day-to-day. And some of those teachers happen to be adults. I came to graduate school hoping to better understand what happened to me and what I surmised was happening to others."
Freeman credits his one-year, non-traditional teacher prep program with helping prepare him for many things as a beginning teacher and someone would later support other new teachers. Freeman sought a doctoral program that could help him make sense of his journey and others’ paths, which led him to Learning Sciences and Human Development program area with an additional focus on Teacher Learning, Research and Practice at the CU Boulder School of Education.
At CU Boulder, Freeman has been a committed teacher and teacher educator, and he is the 2022 Outstanding Graduate for Outstanding Teaching.
He taught undergraduate courses in for the School of Education’s elementary teacher education program, served as the teaching assistant in a required first-year qualitative methods course, and was an unofficial mentor to multiple cohorts of doctoral students in Learning Sciences and Human Development.
For 5 years, he was a member of the EPIC research team where he taught the course on learning and social justice and supported undergraduates as they learned alongside children at the EPIC afterschool club at an elementary in Lafayette. EPIC is part of a long-standing university-community partnership with Alicia Sanchez International Elementary School that aims to: support learning opportunities for children from non-dominant communities, organize teacher education for social justice, and cultivate new practices at the university and the elementary school that can facilitate more humanizing educational experiences.
In these spaces, Freeman always embodied curiosity and extended grace for learners. He would, for example, stop a planned lesson to make time to understand people’s ideas and invite others to engage with him in turning problems around so that they could understand their complexity.
As a scholar who read voraciously, he also regularly shared rich resources including books, articles, videos, and Twitter threads, that pushed his peers’ and students’ thinking in unexpected and creative ways.
Freeman designed his pedagogy with great intention, so that undergraduates would be challenged and supported.
“He approached teaching undergraduates holistically – from inside the classroom to program design, to teacher educator learning and research on teaching,” his nominators said. “This robust approach to teaching is necessary if we, as a school of education, are going to support the development of grounded and innovative teachers and teacher educators.”