Brian Freeland, a history teacher at the New Technology School at Garinger, was chosen as the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ 2009 Teacher of the Year.

The award was announced Monday at the district’s EMMY (Educating the Minds of Mecklenburg Youth) Awards at the Blumenthal Theater.

Freeland was chosen from among seven finalists, each representing a CMS learning community. Freeland, who grew up in a poor urban community, said he saw education as his way out of poverty.

“The classroom became my place to think and prepare for a better future where I controlled life’s circumstances on my own terms,” he said. “I looked to teachers as instruments to obtain knowledge, wisdom and understanding.”

He now conveys those ideas to others.

“I teach my students to use the classroom as a place of opportunity constructed from their personal effort,” he said. “I inspire my students to believe that dreams can be achieved by developing a learning process that enhances their intellectual aptitude. I use this acronym daily: REALITY: Real Educational Aptitude (involves) Learning (to) Intelligently Think (for) Yourself.”

Principal Barry Blair said Freeland “has the ability to make sure students employ their senses to feel, hear, see, smell and taste the past worlds and, ultimately, their impact on us as the next generation.”

Freeland holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Cortland College, State University of New York. He began his career in education with the Syracuse City School District in 2001. He came to CMS in 2004, teaching at Piedmont Open Middle.

He was a Teacher of the Year finalist from Piedmont Middle in 2004. He left Piedmont to teach at Garinger High and joined the New Technology School in 2008. Garinger is part of the Northeast Learning Community.

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