Claes Nobel Educators of the Year
NSHSS is pleased to highlight our 2013 Claes Nobel Educators of the Year, presented to ten exemplary educators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to preparing students for success in college and in life. These ten educators are among NSHSS’s student-nominated Claes Nobel Educators of Distinction program that recognizes educators who model best practices in teaching, are a positive influence for students and peers, and who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in education, as well as community engagement. Since the inception of the Educators of Distinction program in 2004, NSHSS has recognized more than 38,000 educators worldwide.
Mr. Dana Kling
AP/Gifted Language Arts Teacher
Brookwood High School, Snellville, Georgia
Mr. Dana Kling was honored recently at the NSHSS member event held at The Carter Center in Atlanta as one of the 2013 Top Ten Claes Nobel Educators of the Year. He has attained multiple S.T.A.R. Teacher honors on the local, regional, and state level. Mr. Kling not only teaches 11th grade Gifted American Literature and 12th grade AP Literature, but he also serves as the 11th grade Language Arts Chair, the Brookwood High School Instructional Team Leader, the advisor for the school’s literary magazine, and the sponsor for the ice hockey and fencing teams. He was elected by his peers to serve on the local School Council. Mr. Kling is also a nationally-rated gymnastics official, having officiated on the Junior Olympic and NCAA levels. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education from Duke University and a Master of Education in English Education from the University of Georgia.
Mr. Kling describes his profession as his “most precious of realities.” He encourages his students to capitalize on their allotted classroom time by reading critically, actively engaging with the text, and having fun. He seeks to self-improve daily and challenges his students to emulate his strides towards continual academic advancement. He explains the magnitude of his expectations, “I want for and from my students more than they can imagine.” Mr. Kling’s teaching philosophy evokes the broadening of one’s intellectual scope as he believes, “Literature is supposed to challenge – not simply reinforce our beliefs. ‘There is no book worth reading, no poem worth writing, no essay worth analyzing, that assumes the same values for all,’ writes Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Anna Quindlen. I insist that students move beyond the easy binary and dangerously divisive arguments that pervade our society.” Mr. Kling warns his students against unquestioningly accepting the understandings of traditional literary analysis. He believes that it is “an optimistic realism that sometimes caps our potential and I want my students to get beyond that limit.”
Mr. Kling’s nominating student describes the contagiousness of the instructor’s excitement for education, “His constant energy and blazing spirit continues to keep all of his students interested in whatever they are doing, whether they are reading a poem, trekking through a novel, or even taking a test. His one-of-a-kind personality enables him to constantly catch his students' attentions, and even brighten up the kids who just came from, say, an AP Physics test. A day does not go by where there isn't an outburst of laughter from the class in regards to his unusual and entertaining method of teaching us what we need to know. He goes above and beyond in everything he does so that we, the students, are interested. And his efforts have paid off. Never has a language arts class been this exciting before, where I look forward to going to the class every day. And never have I learned as much as I have from Mr. Kling.”