Juliana Urtubey Makes History As 2021 National Teacher of the Year

Juliana Urtubey Teacher of the Year BeLatina Latinx
Photo by John Locher / AP

After a critical year for teachers and educators across the country, recognitions such as the National Teacher of the Year award are a breath of fresh air.

This year’s honoree was Latina educator Juliana Urtubey, who became the first Nevada educator to win the award and the first Latina to receive it since 2005.

As reported by NBC News, the Council of Chief State School Officers recognized Urtubey with the award last Thursday.

“Juliana Urtubey exemplifies the dedication, creativity, and heart teachers bring to their students and communities,” council CEO Carissa Moffat Miller said.

The council said she is the first Latina to receive the award since 2005 and the first Nevada teacher to win it.

First lady Jill Biden, who was in Las Vegas as part of a three-state tour of the western U.S., congratulated Urtubey during a surprise visit to her classroom Thursday. “CBS This Morning” aired a video in which Urtubey appeared surprised when Biden, also an educator, walked into the classroom and presented her with flowers.

“She is just the epitome of a great teacher, a great educator,” Biden said as she sat for an interview with Urtubey.

As NBC added, Juliana Urtubey, who has been an educator for 11 years, works with elementary school students, individualizing lessons to meet their academic, emotional, and behavioral needs. That can take her anywhere in the school, from spending hours with struggling preschoolers to helping a fifth-grader in science class and strategizing with teachers on how to work with their special needs students.

With information from NBC.