Whether she’s teaching elementary schoolchildren or running the seat-based learning program, Annette Klang wants Crosslake Community School to be a place students eagerly go to each day.

“I’m just trying to make this the best place, make sure it’s a great part of their day,” Klang said.

After joining the charter school in 2012, Klang is serving as the interim director of seat-based learning this year. Most recently, she taught a third- and fourth-grade class. Before that she taught a first- and second-grade class.


"Life needs to be fun and the bar needs to be high, so why settle for average when you can have awesome? Life needs to be lived that way on purpose."

— Annette Klang, Crosslake Community School interim director of seat-based learning


She was hired in 2012 as a Title 1 teacher, a position she had for a year before taking on her own classroom of kids. Initially, she joined the school with a goal of staying for just one year as she got back into teaching. She discovered the value of teacher input there.

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“You can really be a voice in what happens,” she said.

Klang grew up in Princeton and graduated from what is now the University of Northwestern in St. Paul with an elementary education degree. She considered teaching music education, but wanted a broader scope so chose the elementary level.

“I went down the education path to see what it was like with the kids,” she said, and she found she loved it.

“You can impact kids so much and shape them into such wonderful people,” she said. “I just wanted to provide influences and stability to kids.

“Influencing and shaping - these kids need great shaping in their lives,” Klang said.

She married Doug Asprey, whom she met in college, and they moved to Brainerd in 1994, where Asprey was the youth pastor at Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter. Tragically, after being married for 12 years and having two sons together - Jake and Jonathan - Asprey died in a plane crash in 1998.

A few years later, she met husband Eric Klang, who is the Pequot Lakes police chief, and they have two sons together - Joe and Jed.

Klang’s two older sons are both married and a grandchild is on the way. Joe attends college in Arizona, and Jed is a senior at Brainerd High School.


"The more fun and happy they are, the better they’re going to do in school. Make it fun and they’re going to do well."

— Annette Klang, Crosslake Community School interim director of seat-based learning


Klang taught and had other jobs before her children were born. After all four boys were in school, she returned to education as a substitute teacher before landing in Crosslake.

After a chaotic year with COVID-19, the theme this year at Crosslake School is “Best Year Ever.” There was a pep fest on the first day of school, and Klang said the kids were excited. Kids experience “yucky things,” and that’s one reason why Klang just wants them to have fun as they learn.

Kids are by far the best part of her job.

“I love how unique they are. I love giving kids high fives and just teasing them and seeing their progress,” she said. “The more fun and happy they are, the better they’re going to do in school. Make it fun and they’re going to do well.”

Klang is taking her career one year at a time. She applied for the school’s executive director position in the past. When the school board sought applicants most recently, it didn’t receive enough qualified applicants so board members decided to have Klang fill the position for a year and may open the application process again in January.


"You can impact kids so much and shape them into such wonderful people. I just wanted to provide influences and stability to kids."

— Annette Klang, Crosslake Community School interim director of seat-based learning


In the meantime, she’ll continue working hard to ensure students and staff have “the best year ever.”

She’ll also continue watching her youngest son play football and hockey in his last year of high school.

“We haven’t missed a game - ever,” she said of her and Eric attending all their kids’ sporting events.

She works part time for Delta Airlines at night, and her family takes advantage of perks that come with the job as they love to travel. She and Eric love hot weather and beaches, particularly in Mexico, Florida and Arizona.

Klang also enjoys renovating and painting homes, as well as being with her family.

And she loves bringing out the best in people.

“Life needs to be fun and the bar needs to be high, so why settle for average when you can have awesome?” she said, adding she’s always told her kids that.

“Life needs to be lived that way on purpose,” Klang said.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.