Like many college freshmen, Howell High School teacher Jeff Klapper had no idea what he wanted to do for a career. After two years at Michigan State, a college counselor told him, “Dude, you gotta’ choose something.”
So Mr. Klapper had to make a decision. He knew he liked working with people, specifically kids, so he said teacher. Then the counselor asked him what kind of teacher he wanted to be. He said he was good at math.
So that is what he became: a math teacher. He started his first teaching job in Ionia, Michigan. It was a small rural area between Grand Rapids and Plymouth. He got the job here at Howell High School in 2004 to make it more convenient for him and his wife. His wife is also a teacher, teaching in Plymouth. Mr. Klapper currently teaches Functions, Statistics and Trigonometry, and Geometry.
Mr. Klapper is a native of Michigan, growing up in Saline. Mr. Klapper and his wife were one of those “high school couples” who dated through high school. They’ve known each other for 14 years and got married six years ago. He and his wife have two children. Noah is three and a half, and Mackenzie is one and a half.
Outside of school, Mr. Klapper enjoys running. He ran in a few races like Muddy Buddy, where he and a partner each race half of a marathon and then finish together running and crawling through dirt and mud.
He also participated in the Dances with Dirt Race, which involves running through swampy and muddy puddles that reach up to your waist.
Other than running, Mr. Klapper says he likes to do “anything athletic.” One of his favorite sports would have to be Ultimate Frisbee. He played on a team all the way through college for MSU.
This year, Mr. Klapper is the head coach of the track team. He was the assistant coach last year, but now he’s the big dog. Mr. Klapper was also an adviser for the ping-pong club at Parker High a few years back.
Mr. Klapper loves a good science fiction or fantasy book to read, something along the lines of Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings. Although he is a big Star Wars fan, he says he’s not a big Star Trek fan, nor is he a gamer.
As Mr. Klapper holds a meter stick beside him he warns, jokingly, that the meter stick is his light saber. He smirks and goes on to say that he would love to meet the real Yoda, just because he’s lived 900 years and has mastered the force. Mr. Klapper claims he can only use the force on the doors as you walk into Meijer.
Mr. Klapper has achieved a lot in his life, everything from being a father to hearing a student say, “Oh, I get it now!”
What he most enjoys about his teaching he says is, “I like seeing people grow, and interacting with kids.”
Mrs. Beverly Musolf had been teaching for 34 years, give or take a few months, and was teaching her second period class when she was interrupted by the news that she had won the Howell Public School District Teacher of the Year award.
She was asked to come to the auditorium, where she was surprised with a ceremony in her honor.
“I was shocked,” said Mrs. Musolf. “I had no idea what was going on!”
Mrs. Musolf was selected from a total number of 460 teachers in the district, and then from a pool of seven nominees, by a committee of eighteen teachers, parents, students, principals and a board member. They talked about each individual member and then voted.
“I think she is really truly concerned about students learning,” Howell High School’s principal Mr. Aaron Moran said. “I’ve heard from many students who hated math, and then had her, and she made them think ‘maybe I can do this.’ She’s looking out for what’s best for them.”
The daughter of Mrs. Marge Hamill, the assistant principal at Highlander Way Middle School, is one of these former students of Mrs. Musolf.
“I always struggled in math and would get so defeated after having tried to advocate for myself by asking questions of various teachers when I didn’t understand a concept,” Michelle Drotar said.
Mrs. Hamill recalled how Michelle benefitted from Mrs. Musolf’s class.
“Michelle used to say that Mrs. Musolf would try to see how she was thinking, how her mind worked, and that Mrs. Musolf would not stop until she got it,” said Mrs. Hamill.
It seems like all types of students have something to say about her.
“I love Mrs. Musolf! I had her last year, and she was always super enthusiastic about what we were learning in class that day,” said junior Erin Flannery. “ I’m pretty good at math, but she just helped me actually enjoy it. A lot of my friends had her too, and they all really liked her.”
Mrs. Musolf graduated from Michigan State University, and earned her master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University. Her background is definitely a teaching one – her mother, sisters, and aunts are all teachers.
“It’s a genetic thing,” Mrs. Musolf laughs. “I definitely think that it requires a certain type of person to teach – I don’t think everyone can do it. Being good with people, being able to help people, that’s a good thing to have.”
Between being at school from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (at the least) every day and grading papers and creating lesson plans, she doesn’t have much spare time. But when she has some, she rides motorcycles with her husband and considers herself an avid motorcyclist fan. They also go four-wheeling, and she loves it. Mrs. Musolf also likes to read and garden.