FREESE, ANDREW J. (1 Nov. 1816-2 Sept. 1904), first superintendent of Cleveland schools, was born in Levant, Penobscot, Maine. Determined to become a teacher, Freese attended college irregularly about 3 years, teaching to finance his education; and traveled throughout New England and consulted with Horace Mann to learn about existing school systems. Freese came to Cleveland in 1840 and taught at Prospect St. School, later becoming division principal. Supported by the Board of Managers, he helped effect changes in state laws that led to a graded school system, better textbooks, and the establishment of public high schools, including Ohio's first free public high school, which became CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL and opened in Cleveland on 13 July 1846 with Freese as principal. In 1847, Western Reserve University conferred an honorary M.A. degree upon Freese.
In June 1853, the Board of Education (formerly the Board of Managers) created the office of superintendent of instruction, appointing Freese, who also continued as Central High principal, until 1861 when he resigned because of ill health. He taught at Eagle School and in 1868 became principal of Central High School, resigning in 1869 because of illness. He then originated a series of outline maps, assisted editing the Ohio Journal of Education, and authored books on education as well as Early History of Cleveland Public Schools (1896). On 17 June 1847, Freese married Elizabeth Merrill; they had one child, Elmira. Freese is buried at LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.Last Modified: 10 Jul 1997 05:11:12 PM
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