A Tribute to the Creative Spirit — Why We Support Our Teachers

A teacher isn’t just an educator. Beyond teaching their core curriculum, teachers inspire students to be imaginative, to dream big, live fully and CREATE. Just to put it in perspective, teachers also educate young minds on compassion, respect, life skills and responsibility, shaping their professional capabilities long before applying for jobs becomes a reality.

There’s an unrest in our state – a thunderstorm brewing at the capitol. As teachers from across Oklahoma fight for funding for their students, we took a step back to reflect on the impact that public education had on our employees. It was the creativity and reach-for-the-stars attitudes from our teachers that led many Freestylers to pursue careers in a creative field. We encourage you to stand with us in support of education funding as we give a shout-out to the true creatives that inspired us to work harder, smarter, to create and always be kind.

“Throughout elementary, junior high and high school I attended public school. Early on I had a love for dance and choir and was lucky to attend schools that had large performing arts departments. My passion for the arts grew through the guidance and dedication my teachers exhibited. I was always pushed to be the best version of myself and to try harder, molding my work ethic to be strong and focused. I am forever grateful to Mr. Dennis Burton and Ms. Gaye McClure for being incredible role models and passionate teachers.” – Natalie Chapman, Account Lead

“Mrs. Claudia Swisher taught me things so far beyond what a teacher is required to do. She taught everyone in her class how to love people genuinely and without compromise. Every single day when we would leave her class she would always remind us to tell the people in our lives that we loved them and to never miss an opportunity to hug someone that we cared about. When it was easy for teachers to write off bad students, she spoke vision and life into them. She encouraged the ‘weirdos’ to find passions and pursue them, knowing that we had a place in the world.  I found my place in the creative world, largely through the heroes of the books that I would read in her class. I don’t even know if she remembers me, but I will always remember her, and she is the reason why I never leave home without saying I love you.” – Will Dickinson, Director of Photography & Video

“Dr. Barb DeSanto was hands down one of the most impactful educators in my life. From teaching me the fundamentals of public relations to advising me as a member of PRSSA, her passion for all things communications was contagious. Dr. Barb was the person who not only opened my eyes to a career in PR but was the one who really made me want it.” – Natalie Johnston, Brand Development Lead

“My mother, Mrs. Bivens, was my first teacher in more ways than one. Besides the normal everyday rearing, she also taught a pre-K and younger class, which was my first classroom experience. In Kindergarten, she helped me read almost 400 children’s books. All of the stories, pictures, games, and experiences that she gave me led to the person I am now. She was always challenging me with I Spy games, or we were competing to find the most coins on the ground wherever we went. This developed my attention to detail, observation, and visual comprehension. I credit much of my creativity and fundamentals to her.” – Josh Bivens, Director of Photography

“Public school teachers taught me a variety of subjects including coding, video production, the arts, English and creativity. If it wasn’t for them, Freestyle Creative wouldn’t exist.” – Vahid Farzaneh, Founder & CEO

“My mom, aunts, grandparents and husband have been or are all teachers and most of them have served or are serving in Oklahoma. Saying that public education has influenced my life is an understatement. It takes a special heart to raise, mold and care for kids that aren’t your own. It takes an army to form a generation of young adults who are responsible contributing citizens. I think that army started with my parents and was supported by my teachers at Mangum Public Schools. To the teachers that inspired me to think outside of the box, pursue the arts, embrace ideation, communicate and always continue learning, I owe a great deal of my successes in life to you. Thank you.” – Rebecca Chambless, Account Executive

“Throughout my time in the Norman Public School system, I had the pleasure of being taught by extraordinary teachers. From middle school on, my love of writing grew stronger because of the educators that shaped my skills. Mrs. Carlsen, Mrs. Castell and Mrs. Girdner are a few of the teachers that stood out, and because of them I have now pursued a career that involves writing on a daily basis. It’s not the specific assignments, books or curriculum that stand out. At the end of the day, my teachers invested in me which made me invest in myself.” – Sarah Rogers, Digital Marketing Strategist

“The day that my high school English teacher, Mrs. Charleston, told me my essay made her heart pitter patter was the day that I decided I wanted creative problem solving to be a part of my career. Prior to that, I wanted to be an English teacher, but sadly, she advised against it because teachers don’t make enough in Oklahoma. Today, I do what I love every day. I am so grateful to my teachers for pushing me to exercise my talents, and now it’s my turn support them in ensuring a better future for teachers, their families and their students.” – Alexis Trammell, Director of Account Services

Teachers most certainly have H.E.A.R.T., the core values that Freestylers hold dear.

Don’t stop fighting for our students. We stand with you!

Our very own Will Dickinson and Josh Bivens went to the capitol to capture the events of the past weeks. Be sure to scroll through our images above to see more!