USC education professor honored with prestigious award

Dr. Nancy Freeman

Nancy Freeman, a University of South Carolina associate professor in early childhood education, has been awarded the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE)/ Pearson 2012 Outstanding Early Childhood Teacher Educator Award.

Freeman was honored at the NAECTE’s annual conference in November in Atlanta, where she was recognized for her leadership and professionalism in early childhood teacher education.

“I am very honored and humbled by this recognition,” Freeman said. “It means so much to be recognized by my peers. I was absolutely thrilled to have a large contingent from South Carolina at the awards ceremony. Nothing could have been more meaningful than receiving this award in front of my students – who made a garnet-and-black cheering section.”

The NAECTE presents the annual award to an educator who:

  • demonstrates leadership in improving early childhood teacher education;
  • demonstrates professionalism through advocacy, expertise and high ethical standards;
  • practices continual professional development; and
  • mentors the professional development of students, beginning teachers, faculty and colleagues.

Freeman, a regular contributor to the South Carolina ABC Child Care Program website and a nationally-recognized expert on ethics in early childhood education, was praised by her peers who cited her keen intellect, strong work ethic and a willingness to take on any task.

Lemuel Watson, dean of the College of Education, said “Nancy is a wonderful educator who has had a tremendous impact on the college. This award is most befitting of Nancy and her contributions to her field.”

Her students describe her as a gifted teacher and dedicated mentor.

Angie Baum, assistant professor of early childhood education at USC, echoes the sentiments of Freeman’s students.

“As Nancy’s colleague and as co-chair of the NAECTE awards committee, I was thrilled to see this award go to someone so deserving,” Baum said. “Her work in early childhood education has had a meaningful and powerful impact on the field, nationally and internationally. This award is a very fitting way to honor Nancy’s enduring dedication to providing quality care and education for young children.”