Leighton Freeze – NOCO’s 30 Under 30 (2023)

By: Staff



Q: What’s your occupation? Explain your career, your accomplishments and professional highlights.

A: I am the seventh grade social studies teacher at Franklin Middle School in Greeley. I am entering my fourth year of teaching, and I am also the social studies department chair at my school. I have been given many opportunities at the school, some of which are responsibilities that someone with less than five years of experience normally would not be given. I was nominated for the Rookie Teacher of the year for the 2022-2023 school year by the school district. I also represent my school at the Teacher Advisory Council that meets with the superintendent.

Q: Tell us about yourself, your history and how you came to be where you are now.

A: I grew up in a small community in western Nebraska. I have always had a passion for teaching; it was something I decided I wanted to do when I was in high school. During my college years, I played a season of baseball and then transferred and graduated from the University of Nebraska at Kearney with a history education degree. I then moved to Colorado during the summer of 2021 so I could be closer to my fiancé, Sami.


Age: 28 

Occupation: Social studies teacher at Franklin Middle School


Q: Tell us something unique about you.

A: Many people are shocked when I tell them I love my job. Education is a tough profession, but the professional relationship that I create with my students is what keeps me going. Lots of students don’t have a stable adult presence in their lives, and I enjoy being that person. I feel like teaching has not only helped others around me grow, but I have also become a better person through it.

Q: What do you consider your biggest accomplishment, either professionally or personally?

A: I have a wonderful fiancé, a dog, a house, great family/friends and a profession I can grow in. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. I am truly blessed with what I have been given.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?

A: I see myself with a master’s degree in education leadership and working as an admin somewhere in the Greeley-Evans School District 6. I will be married and possibly have a couple kids of my own while working to be the best husband and father I can be.

Q: What piece(s) of advice would you give to your younger self?

A: “Be more confident in yourself; you have the tools to be successful. People will notice all the work you put in and you will be awarded for the effort.”

Q: What drove you to take on additional responsibilities at your school?

A: I accepted new positions (as social studies department chair, school district representative to the superintendent and football, basketball and baseball coach) because I believe you should always be bettering yourself as an individual and doing things that better the school as a whole. My dad had a quote that I still try to live by: “You always want to leave somewhere better than you found it.” I believe that doing more for Franklin Middle School helps to make it a place where students can be successful.

Q: What do your mentorship and coaching roles mean to you?

A: At Franklin Middle School we have a mentoring class. Each teacher is assigned a group of students, and the class allows you to understand the students and put them in a position to be successful. It gives me another opportunity to be a positive adult role model for our students, which is something that certain students are missing in their lives. Coaching athletics is another passion of mine, and it has been for many years. Sports played a major role in my life and gave me many experiences, like playing baseball at the collegiate level. I coach football, basketball and baseball at the middle school and high school levels. Coaching sports is the part of my career that I don’t consider a job. It’s a passion that I truly love doing.