Sometimes, people become inspired for a career choice by situations or people they meet in childhood.
Since she was 7, Greenwood Elementary School Teacher of the Year and Tahlequah Public Schools District Teacher of the Year Lori Freymuth’s passion has been educating others.
A graduate of Union High School, she also graduated from NSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. She has always loved helping people, building relationships and witnessing “lightbulb moments” when someone learns a new concept.
A second-grade teacher, Jan Burkholder, ignited Freymuth’s passion for teaching. Even at such a young age, Freymuth knew she wanted to touch lives, just as her teacher did. Another educator who impacted her teaching was Nikki Molloy, her mentor teacher at Greenwood.
“[Nikki and I] formed an instant bond, and she was an invaluable resource from whom I learned a tremendous amount by merely watching her in action,” Freymuth said. “I am so grateful for her and all the amazing teachers who have helped me develop into the teacher I am today.”
Freymuth believes the three most important qualities a teacher can possess are a positive and passionate attitude, a dedication and willingness to do whatever it takes, and an ability to be an amazing communicator and relationship builder.
She also has advice to those just entering the teaching profession.
“Always keep your focus on the kids, and don’t be afraid to use the knowledge of the amazing teachers around you,” said Freymuth. “Be passionate, dedicated and willing to do whatever it takes to help every student become their very best.”
This year marked her first time teaching second grade, but she’s taught at Greenwood for four years, the first three in pre-kindergarten.
“I love seeing my students’ excitement for learning, especially when they learn a new concept and are able to teach it to a friend,” Freymuth said.
Her goal is to strive to make learning fun and memorable, using various teaching strategies that motivate every student from the hands-on learner to the metacognitive learner.
“I want my students to come away from their time with me respecting and believing in themselves and others, becoming lifelong learners and feeling inspired and loved,” Freymuth said.
She made the decision to teach in the Tahlequah area while attending college at Northeastern State University.
“I had the opportunity to spend time in various classrooms throughout the district and I fell in love with the whole environment, from the teachers to the students, and the value placed on providing a quality education,” she said.
Each morning, she greets her students at the door with a smile.
“Greenwood is a great place to teach, because we all work together to positively impact every student who walks through the door,” she said. “We have the most amazing administration, devoted teachers and staff, caring parents and amazing students.”
Freymuth is involved in nearly every activity at Greenwood, and serves as co-president of the Parent-Teacher Organization.
“In the three years I’ve been involved in the PTO, we’ve raised over $50,000 for Greenwood,” Freymuth said. “I helped sponsor Special Olympics this year by plunging into the icy waters of the Illinois River.”
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