January 27, 2021
CARSON CITY Nev. – Today, the Council of Chief State School Offices (CCSSO) announced that L. Juliana Urtubey is among four exemplary educators from across the country who are finalists for 2021 National Teacher of the Year.
Ms. Urtubey, a learning strategist at Kermit R. Booker Senior Innovative Elementary School in the Clark County School District, was selected as the 2021 Nevada Teacher of the Year in September 2020. She is warmly known as “Ms. Earth” for her service and leadership in co-creating an expansive garden and mural program in partnership with her school community including a vast network of students, family members, and community organizations. Ms. Urtubey’s work addresses critical issues of educational equity and access by beautifying the school and unifying the school community.
“I have said that Juliana represents the best of Nevada’s educators, so it is no surprise that she also shines brightly on the national stage,” said Governor Sisolak. “Her commitment to making learning engaging and accessible for students and families from all backgrounds is more important today than ever, and we can all be proud to have her representing the Silver State.”
“Juliana is an amazing educator who is equally committed to welcoming the community into the classroom as she is to ensuring lessons are meaningful for students well beyond the classroom,” said Jhone Ebert, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Her passion and joy are contagious, and this national recognition amplifies her positive impact on the profession and our public education system.”
"I am proud that a Clark County School District teacher is one of only four teachers nationally in the running for National Teacher of the Year,” said Dr. Jesus F. Jara, Superintendent of Clark County School District. “Ms. Urtubey is an extraordinary advocate for all children and families. We are all proud of her accomplishments as she works tirelessly on student academic achievement and overall wellbeing.”
“I am honored to be one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year,” said Ms. Urtubey. “This school year has been unlike any other, and I appreciate every opportunity to use my platform to continue to recognize the critical work that all school staff and teachers do to support, celebrate, and advocate for students and families.”
The three other finalists for 2021 National Teacher of the Year are:
- John Arthur, the 2021 Utah Teacher of the Year, is a sixth-grade teacher whose students have gained national recognition as advocates for children and immigrants through the videos they create and share on their YouTube channel, 9thEvermore.
- Alejandro Diasgranados, the 2021 District of Columbia Teacher of the Year, teaches fourth and fifth grade English and social studies, and has worked with community partners to ensure students have access to essentials like warm coats, laundry facilities, and laptops.
- Maureen Stover, the 2021 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, is an Air Force veteran and high school biology and environmental science teacher who seeks to provide clear pathways for students to successfully enter the career or college program of their choice upon graduation from high school.
One of the four finalists will be named the 2021 National Teacher of the Year this spring by the 2021 National Teacher of the Year Selection Committee. The selected educator will spend the next year traveling the country as an ambassador for education and an advocate for all teachers and students. Ms. Urtubey is the third Nevada State Teacher of the Year to be named a finalist in the national competition, following Grace Bordewich in 1960 and Anne Gibbs in 1956. A Nevada educator has never been selected as the National Teacher of the Year.
About Ms. Juliana Urtubey
Ms. Urtubey is the first-ever Latino/a Nevada State Teacher of the Year. Currently, she teaches in a hybrid learning environment at Booker Elementary School in Las Vegas, Nevada where she serves as a co-teacher in pre-Kindergarten through fifth-grade special education settings and as an instructional strategist developing school-wide Multi-Tiered System of Supports for academic, social-emotional, and behavioral interventions.
Ms. Urtubey earned a Bachelor of Arts in Bilingual Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Special Bilingual Education from the University of Arizona. Urtubey is a National Board Certified Teacher (Exceptional Needs Specialist, Early Childhood and Young Adults).
Ms. Urtubey serves as a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Board Member and Teacher Fellow, a Teach Plus Nevada Senior Policy Fellow, an Understood Teacher Fellow and mentor, a Nevada Department of Education Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Cabinet member, a National Board Network of Accomplished Minoritized Educators founding board member, and a learning facilitator with the Nevada National Board Professional Learning Institute. She is a recipient of the 2019 Chicanos por La Causa Esperanza Latina Teaching Award, the 2019 Hispanic Education Association of Nevada Teacher of the Year, and a 2018 Rogers Foundation Heart of Education award winner.
About the National Teacher of the Year Program
CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year Program identifies exceptional educators across the country, celebrates their work in and outside the classroom, and, through a one-of-a-kind professional development opportunity helps them amplify their voices and empowers them to take part in policy discussions at the state and national level. The National Teacher of the Year program is facilitated nationally by CCSSO. Along with its sponsors, CCSSO brings together State Teachers of the Year from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Washington, DC, and the Department of Defense Education Activity. For more information about the National Teacher of the Year Program visit the 2021 Cohort Website.
About the State Teacher of the Year Program
The mission of the Nevada Teacher of the Year program is to celebrate excellence and strengthen the teaching workforce by honoring and recognizing exceptional teachers on a school, district, State, and national level. For more information about the State Teacher of the Year Program visit the program webpage.