By Karen Yi, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
NEWARK — Walk into Brian Klasner’s classroom and odds are, you won’t find him sitting at his desk or lecturing at the front — he’ll be among his students.
On Tuesday, when a dozen school administrators, members of the media and fellow colleagues surprised Klasner to crown him Newark’s Teacher of the Year, he was sitting near the back of the room with a group of students.
“These are my parents guys,” Klasner, 29, said as he stood up to greet Schools Superintendent Christopher Cerf and his parents, Lisa and Joe Klasner.
“It’s validation of years of people telling me ‘No, you can’t do this,’ ‘No, that doesn’t work, use a textbook, don’t break the mold,'” said Klasner, a social studies teacher at East Side High. “I’ve always had these ideas and I’ve pushed as much as I could.”