Campus History

Campus History
Campus History

In 1960, Freeman Elementary was constructed to address issues of overcrowding and accommodate the students from the community of Freeway Manor, which was located on the southeast edge of Houston. Prior to the building of Freeman Elementary, the children attended South Houston Elementary. At the time of Freeman’s construction, the faculty and principal were hired. However, the building wasn’t ready for students. Instead, students were sent to nearby Garfield Elementary and the two schools went into double sessions for six weeks. In October of 1960, A. B. Freeman Elementary opened its doors at 2323 Theta Street to 500 students with Earnesteen Milstead as the new principal. The newly developed area struggled under the expansion and for several years after the building of the school, it was common for the area to flood and for residents to use boats in the streets. Despite the problems, the people in the area were eager to help and a volunteer library was established with more than 1,865 volumes by 1961. The neighborhood of Freeway Manor continued to grow and so did the student body. By 1966, there were 943 children enrolled in the school and planning began for an addition with nine classrooms and additional restrooms. Later, another addition was added, a large workroom area, office expansion and a new library. As a pilot school for several education processes that were new at the time, Freeman began programs for early childhood education and remedial reading. In the 1973-1974 school year, the school flooded. However, with help from local firemen, it was up and running in no time.  In 1975, a push for new athletic programs was instituted and a new gym was added. At the beginning of the 1975-1976 school year, a full time librarian and a full time nurse were added to the staff. In 1976, the fox was chosen as the school’s mascot. Two years later, when a fire damaged Frazier Elementary in 1978, Freeman shared its space with students from Frazier. In 1984, the elementary school gained its first assistant principal, Judy Bowers. 


Shortly after that in 1991, 6 computers were added to each classroom. The creation of an Early Childhood wing occurred in 1997, along with the construction of the Media and Library Center and additional classrooms. The Media and Library Center was named after Earnesteen Milstead, the campus’ first principal. During the 2010-2011 school year, Freeman celebrated its 50th anniversary and was named a Texas Exemplary School by TEA. In 2012, a SPARK park was opened. Funds to open the park were gathered from a joint effort between the SPARK Foundation and the Freeman Elementary community. After Hurricane Harvey caused severe flooding in the Freeway Manor neighborhood in 2017, most homes in the area were damaged, as was the school. Currently, the enrollment at Freeman averages around 475 students. 


List of Principals
-Earnsteen Milstead 1960-1986
-Judy Bowers 1986-2000 
-Susan Jackson 2000-2005
-Kaye Post 2005-2012
-Michael VanLoenen 2012-present