Klasner brings innovative strategies into his classroom, ensuring students develop critical 21st century skills through project-based learning
[Newark, NJ – May 09, 2017] – Newark Public Schools (NPS) honored Brian Klasner as “Newark Teacher of the Year” today at East Side High School, with a surprise visit from NPS Superintendent Christopher D. Cerf and other district leaders who presented him with an award for his exceptional teaching abilities and the impact he has made on his students. Klasner was chosen from a pool of approximately 22 finalists who were each nominated by their school principal. Each nominee was selected by their principal based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to a teacher’s effectiveness in classroom instruction, strong commitment to professional development and collaboration, and innovation and leadership across the school community.
“I’m proud to have the opportunity to present this year’s ‘Newark Teacher of the Year’ award to Mr. Klasner, a transformational classroom leader at Newark’s East Side High School,” said Superintendent Cerf. “Mr. Klasner’s classroom rigor, innovative instructional strategies, and endless commitment to each of his students exemplifies what’s necessary in every classroom to ensure a high-quality, 21st century education for all of our students.”
Mr. Klasner currently teaches world history and financial literacy to ninth and twelfth graders at East Side Big Picture Academy (ESBPA), a student-centered learning academy within East Side High School. In his classroom, he focuses on providing students with a depth of content knowledge while challenging students to showcase their subject mastery through project-based assessments. A Google Education App expert, he routinely utilizes technology in his classroom to support 21st century learning and collaboration among students. Mr. Klasner has earned a “Highly Effective Teacher” rating for two years in a row, embodying the qualities of a nurturing and rigorous 21st century educator.
“Mr. Klasner’s passion for education and dedication to our school community is having a profound impact on students, families, and teachers across East Side High School,” said Dr. Mario Santos, Principal at East Side High School. “We are incredibly grateful for his countless contributions to our students and families, as he continues to cultivate a 21st century learning environment that is providing our students with the skills necessary to be prepared for college and career success.”
At ESBPA, which enrolls approximately 100 students from grades 9 to 12, students are required to complete an internship over the course of the school year. Students work with their advisor to find an internship that lines up with their interests and develop an interdisciplinary project that they will complete at their individual internship site. This year, Mr. Klasner secured 15 internships for his advisees at a wide-range of companies and organizations, such as NBC Studios, Mount Sinai Hospital, Oliver Street and NJ Regional Day Schools, Trenton Planetarium, East Orange Animal Shelter, and My Brother’s Keeper Program, among others, while also helping other advisors find internship opportunities for their students. Every week, Mr. Klasner travels to his students’ internship locations to support them on their personalized interdisciplinary projects.
In addition to his strong performance in the classroom, Mr. Klasner dedicates his time to expanding access to extra-curricular activities for his students, leading the ESHS 1st Comic Book Club. He also routinely leads workshops for his colleagues at ESHS Professional Development days.
A graduate of the School of Education at Quinnipiac University and a Teach for America alumnus, Mr. Klasner is in his seventh year of teaching and has taught at ESBPA for the past four years. He was inspired to enter the field of education by his mother, who was a career educator, and has made it his life’s mission to make a difference in children’s lives.
“I am very honored to receive the Teacher of the Year Award,” said Brian Klasner. “The method I use for teaching can be done by any teacher – it works because it engages students in a way that encourages them to push boundaries, use innovation, push the big picture, focus on projects, and interest-based and real world learning.”
Each of the 22 NPS teachers nominated by their respective principal for the 2016-2017 “Newark Teacher of the Year” award will be recognized for their impact at the 2017 Breakfast Celebration for Teachers of The Year at Robert Treat Hotel on Friday, June 2.