Faculty Recognized as Employees of the Year

Principal+Brandon+Baker+congratulates+2022+Teacher+of+the+Year+Jaclynn+Edwards.+

Photo courtesy of Jaclynn Edwards.

Principal Brandon Baker congratulates 2022 Teacher of the Year Jaclynn Edwards.

Emily Hickman, Staff Writer

479 Views

At the beginning of every year, Klein High acknowledges its employees that go above and beyond in their work. This year, these awarded employees include Clerical Employee of the Year Paula Tasin, Educational Assistant of the Year Ashley Hart Young, Professional Support Employee of the Year Joseph Kopfler, Counselor of the Year Jennifer Lange, Assistant Principal of the Year Blake Muskiet, and Teacher of the Year Jaclynn Edwards. 

Young, the clerical assistant in the nurse’s office, has only just settled in at the school. After joining the staff in the spring of 2019, this is her first “normal” school year. 

“The first year I started here, I was here for about three or four months and then we went home and never came back from spring break for COVID,” Young said. “And then, the second year here, we had half the students on campus. It was just a lot different than what I’m told it was like [before].”

Young’s job consists of seeing a lot of different students everyday. This is where her job differs from the average staff as she is not limited to a certain group of students and is exposed to all types of students. 

“I meet a lot of these families and a lot of the students before they meet anybody else here. I see a lot of students – not just a certain grade or … last name,” Young said. 

When Principal  Brandon Baker came with her coworkers to congratulate her, Young was confused when the normally quiet nurse’s office was suddenly filled with what sounded like the fire alarm. 

“I was in the file room with a student and Mr. Baker came in with his bullhorn and he had an alarm going off. I actually thought it was the fire alarm. I was looking for the strobe lights to go off and they weren’t going off,” Young said. “So, I was really confused when I came to the file room, and then he was there holding a bullhorn and there were a whole bunch of admin in with him.”

After five years of being a chemistry teacher, Kopfler took on the role of Instructional Specialist of Science three years ago. Along with his responsibilities of being the science specialist, Kopfler has taken on new roles and responsibilities this year. 

“I’ve been juggling more than my usual share this year,” Kopfler said. “In addition to my regular role,  I also had two long term sub classes where I was the teacher in the background for that. So I did a lot of juggling this year and [I] still helped make sure that our students were having successes.”

As the science specialist, Kopfler’s day consists of speaking with teachers, providing coaching and pointers, attending meetings, and working with students to make sure they have everything they need to be successful. 

“I hear people thanking me for my job, but it’s always good to have that moment and … I guess I’m glad people recognize me,” Kopfler said. “But also if they didn’t, I’d still be doing the same job because I just want to be helpful. I want to be of service to everyone at the school.” 

In every decision that Kopfler makes he remembers his brother who passed away ten years ago. His brother was never someone who cared about school or his work because of situations outside of school. 

“I always think about him and how his teachers saw him versus how I saw him because I saw him outside of school. So whenever I’m dealing with students, I think about my brother and…you’re only seeing them in this one setting, and realize that there are many things in the background that you may not realize are happening,” Kopfler said. 

Lange, the campus 504 coordinator and graduation advisor, has been at the school for five years now, not including her three other years in the district. 

“I love the school. I really like the people I work for, the students and the families. I like the people that I work with, the administration, the faculty, the teachers, my counseling team,” Lange said. “I really feel like I’m blessed to work in a campus that has a lot of support for students.” 

After the death of her son-in-law last August, Lange has had a difficult year juggling her personal life with helping her daughter and taking on her responsibilities as a counselor. 

“He [my son-in-law] has been gone now, six months and it’s been a hard year,” Lange said. “So, I think that being recognized, you know, as Counselor of the Year, it was a nice pat on the back. It was something nice in such a difficult time.”

Lange not only was recognized by her school, but by her parents too. Growing up in a remote village in Mexico, Lange’s parents did not have the same access to education as others and only made it to fifth or sixth grade. Lange makes them proud by being a first generation high school and college graduate. 

“I always want to share with people that education does open doors and it does provide you opportunities. I remember being a kid and always feeling like college was something that other people did, that people like me never would go to college. That was my mindset,” Lange said. “I feel very blessed and very grateful that I was able to do that.”

Assistant Principal Muskiet has been an AP for 14 years, seven of which were at Klein. Working here allows Muskiet to do what he loves, talking and helping students and parents and seeing the students grow from freshmen to seniors. 

“I look forward to getting up and coming here every day and working with the students. Kids come in as freshmen and then [you get to see] how they are by the time they leave as seniors and how they have matured and changed,” Musket said.

Muskiet has history with Klein High outside of being an AP as his wife graduated from the school and continues to work as a counselor in the district. Along with him and his wife, Muskiet has two kids in the district, one at Klein Collins and the other at Strack Intermediate.  

“I approach every situation working with students as I would hope someone would work with one of my two boys. Wanting that for them allows me to come in and want to work like that here,” Muskiet said. 

Thanks to his new responsibilities this year, his positive attitude at school each day, and eagerness to help students, Muskiet was awarded with Assistant Principal of the Year for the first time.

“I think it’s a neat thing to be able to put up in my office and to represent Klein High School,” Muskiet said. “[I] just appreciate that somebody would notice the effort that we all put in and [I’m] grateful that they did that. So, thank you.” 

Since her start here at Klein High in 2009, this is the third time being nominated for teacher of the year for freshman biology teacher Edwards. So, when filling out the essay questions as she did in the past, Edwards thought it was unlikely that she would win this time. 

“I’ve been nominated three times. I filled out those five essay questions for the third time and I was like ‘ok here we go again,’” Edwards said. “But then, they walked in the room and I was like ‘Are y’all serious? Did anybody else get nominated or was it just me? Did I win by default?’”

This school year was different for Edwards as this was her first year not coaching the girls basketball team. Edwards gave up her role as coach in order to spend more time with her family and focus on responsibilities outside of the classroom. 

“It was like ripping my heart out trying to give it up,” Edwards said. “They are doing so well right now [the basketball team] and I guess it gave me a little bit more time to focus on the classroom.”

After taking on the role as department chair, Edwards both let go of old responsibilities and took on new ones. Even though she won this year, Edwards knows what it’s like to not win Teacher of the Year or to be nominated. 

“There are many, many teachers here on campus that deserve this award,” Edwards said. “There’s a lot of deserving teachers, a lot of teachers of the year that we work with, and what they do doesn’t go unnoticed just because they didn’t win this award. What they do is amazing, and it’s wonderful to keep up the good work and be strong together as a school.”