Teacher of the Year builds on her experiences

Published 9:33 am Saturday, June 6, 2009

FRANKLIN—When Kimberly Fresen was growing up, she hated school — especially math.

Ironic since the fifth-grade math teacher now is being honored as the district Teacher of the Year for Franklin City Public Schools.

“When I was younger, I hated school and then I went to college and I had some really great teachers and I learned that education could be a lot of fun,” she said.

Fresen, who decided to become an educator during her junior year at Appalachian State in North Carolina, has been a teacher at S.P. Morton Elementary School for two years and has earned a reputation as a hard worker there.

“She definitely goes above and beyond,” said third-grade teacher Christine Brett, who nominated Fresen for the Teacher of the Year award. “She created her own textbook for the kids, and I heard that all of her students passed their SOLs. That’s an extraordinary thing. On top of that, she’s such a nice person and a humble person. She does a lot for the kids and with the kids.”

Fresen’s journey to becoming an educator wasn’t clear at first, she said.

“Math was my worst subject in school,” Fresen admitted. “I think that’s what helps me get through to (my students). When you’re really good at something, it’s hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and help them learn. Since I struggled, I know where they are coming from.”

Fresen, 36, has two children — Sarah, 6, and Katie, 4 — with husband Oliver, a registered nurse at Fresenius Dialysis in Franklin.

The normally shy teacher said she was happy to be picked for teacher of the year at her school.

“It was really an honor because it was my colleagues who voted and we have a lot of really excellent teachers here who are talented and well-educated,” Fresen said. “It’s a really great place to work.”

Fresen credits her boss, Principal Don Spengeman, for encouraging staff and students to learn.

“He’s a great leader,” she said.

Fresen has 70 students and said she works well with the other fifth-grade teachers so that no one slips through the cracks.

As part of the district process, Fresen wrote three essays and was interviewed at Central Office by Asstistant Superintendent Ricky Clemmons and two past winners.

Fresen now will compete in the regional contest and then possibly move on to state.