Making An Impact Where He Got His Education
(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) For a decade, Freddie Spencer was a mathematics professor for numerous universities and community colleges in Texas and Louisiana.
When the opportunity arose to teach high school mathematics, there was no doubt where the Cedar Hill High School Class of 2005 Graduate would go.
“I wanted to come back and make an impact to better prepare scholars for college,” Spencer said. “I saw that I could make a difference in Cedar Hill, so I thought ‘why not?’. I really like teaching the scholars and Being able to teach them what I consider the basic fundamentals of math. You definitely have the enjoyment of when they get that a-ha moment.”
Spencer joined Cedar Hill ISD in 2019-2020 and was assigned to the Ninth Grade Center. With freshmen moving to the main Cedar Hill High School, Spencer now walks the halls where he was a scholar a decade and a half ago.
“A lot of memories have come back and the more I’m here, I continue to see memories come back,” said Spencer, who teaches Algebra I to freshman scholars.
Spencer was a lifelong Longhorn, who began his years at Highlands Elementary School when the campus first opened. In fact, he was among the scholars that voted on the school’s first mascot in the early 1990s. Spencer later attended BeltLine Intermediate and Permenter Middle School.
“I enjoyed my time at Cedar Hill ISD and made friends for a lifetime,” Spencer said.
Spencer played football and competed in both track & field (discus and shot put) and powerlifting for the Longhorns.
He was a second generation CHHS Football Player. He grew up going to Longhorn football games and today, he takes his daughter to the games. Spencer was part of the football program in the early years of the Joey McGuire Era, as an offensive guard/tackle.
“Coach McGuire had the energy, and I’ll never forget when he played “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins as our pre-game warm up song,” Spencer said. “It had us so hyped. The TTHL and all of that is all because of Coach McGuire. He would bring spirit to the school and make you want to appreciate being a Longhorn that much more.”
The Longhorns missed the playoffs in Spencer’s senior season of 2004, but that group helped build the framework that led to the program’s first state championship in 2006.
“I like to think we had a part in that state championship,” Spencer said.
Spencer earned a scholarship to Texas College, a Historically Black College & University (HBCU) in Tyler and helped lead the football team to a conference championship in 2005.
Science, specifically biology, was Spencer’s first interest. But he increasingly grew to appreciate mathematics, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics with a minor in Biology from Texas College.
Spencer, a Dean’s List student in college, originally wanted to work for the federal government, but the job market was experiencing a downturn when he graduated from college in 2009.
He decided, instead, to attend graduate school at Southern University, an HBCU located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He earned a Master’s Degree in Mathematics at Southern, and that’s where he first experienced teaching.
“When I was at Southern University, the chair of the department said I had enough graduate hours to teach a class,” Spencer said. “They offered me money to teach. When you’re in college, you can’t turn down money, so I was teaching college courses at a very young age.”
Returning To The District Brings Spencer Joy
Many of the teachers from Spencer’s time as a CHHS scholar have retired. However, one staff member who’s still there is head football coach Carlos Lynn.
Lynn was an assistant football coach and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) sponsor when Spencer was a scholar.
“It’s good to see homegrown Longhorns come back and make a difference,” Lynn said.
Spencer supports his scholars both in the classroom and through extracurricular activities. At the Homecoming Game this year, he proudly sported his letter jacket as the Longhorns defeated archrival DeSoto, 49-42.
“I take a lot of pride in coming back to the district,” Spencer said. “I’m from this community, and I live in the area. I only want to see success for Cedar Hill.”
Spencer said the greatest reward of teaching is when he hears that scholars enjoyed his class.
“When they tell you that you made math fun or engaging, that’s a huge plus,” Spencer said.