🏈 A “Professional” On and Off the Field

By Office of Communications
Employee News
May 29, 2024

Shante Freeman, assistant administrative hearings officer, has worked for FCPS for seven years but has been part of the FCPS family much longer than that. Shante attended Riverside and Groveton elementary schools, and Whitman Middle School. She graduated from Lee High School. (Lee was renamed Lewis High School in 2020.) Shante smiling in her uniform

Shante started her professional journey with FCPS as an assistant principal at Whitman and was there for six years. At the beginning of the 2023-24 school year, she transitioned to her current role in the Hearings Office. 

Shante has another impressive stat on her resume. She played for three seasons as #77, left tackle, on the D.C. Divas women’s professional full-contact football team. Unfortunately, the pandemic prevented the team from holding games for two of the three seasons, but they could still practice, run plays, and get in shape.

As a self-described “giantess” standing six feet tall, Shante’s height has been advantageous for her interest in sports throughout her life. In high school, she was on the Powder Puff girls’ football team and a student athletic trainer for many teams including varsity football. She went on to receive her undergraduate degree in sports medicine. 

Shante blocks

Always up for a challenge, Shante started training in martial arts and boxing as an adult — even winning a boxing title! But when the time came, she traded competitive fighting for motherhood.

Shante didn’t reconnect with sports again until her son was old enough to start playing football. One day, while sitting at his practice she spotted a tryouts flyer for the D.C. Divas. “I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard about women’s full-contact football sooner!” she exclaimed. 

“I talked myself out of going to the tryout. Then for a whole year, I regretted not giving myself a chance to see what could have happened,” Shante continued. “The following season, I could hardly wait for tryouts. It was the week of my 46th birthday and I went as a challenge to myself to see if I could make the cut. I made the team!”Shante smiling in her uniform

The D.C. Divas are one of the most popular and successful teams in women’s tackle football with a 139-46 record in 19 seasons. They have played in four national championship games, claiming national titles in 2006, 2015, and 2016. 

Former Divas include Mount Vernon High School graduate and National Football League (NFL) Coach Callie Brownson. Shante had the honor of playing with Haley Van Voorhis. Haley is the first female football player to appear in a National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) football game and play a position other than kicker. She played as a safety. 

Playing for the Divas reminded Shante that “people you don’t know are always watching, listening, and cheering for you. People want to see you succeed,” she said. “Be approachable. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Never convince yourself you know every possible thing about your position. Keep growing. Talk to people. Share stories. Laugh and learn. At any moment, you may be giving someone a reason to smile, a reason to feel proud, an inspiration. Just like teaching.”

Shante blocks

“Shante’s diverse background gives her the natural ability to embrace diversity, inclusivity, and openness to different viewpoints, fostering collaboration and understanding across various communities,” Administrative Hearings Officer Lisa Forrest explains. “Similar to her role on the football field, [Shante] familiarizes herself with relevant laws, precedents, and case materials; she collaborates and strategizes on how to conduct the hearings effectively; she safeguards due process to uphold the integrity of the discipline process to ensure a level playing field for all involved.”  

One of Shante’s favorite parts about playing with the Divas was simply because “it was SO much fun!” She continues, “Other than that, always ‘Proving What’s Possible.’ The Divas have been around for more than 20 years but for whatever reason, very few people know that full-contact professional women’s football exists! I quickly realized that I was contributing not only to the legacy of women’s football but also to women’s sports and other platforms affecting women and women’s rights. I love seeing little girls’ eyes light up when they realize this sport is an option for them. Being part of the Divas’ legacy is an irreplaceable experience.”

“At work and at play, I give my all and hope I make things better for others,” said Shante.