Juliana Urtubey ’09 ’11, an elementary special education teacher in Las Vegas, has been named the 2021 National Teacher of the Year.
The honor was announced on “CBS This Morning” and included a surprise visit to Urtubey’s school by first lady Jill Biden.
“I’m so proud, because the work we do for students who learn and think differently is so critical in education,” Urtubey said in an Education Week video.
Known as Ms. Earth, Urtubey has secured grants to beautify her school with gardens and murals. She leads classes outside and uses the garden to teach about character and growth mindset, according to an article in Education Week.
Urtubey is the first Nevada resident and the third special educator to win the award in the nearly seven-decade history of the program, which is overseen by Council of Chief State School Officers.
As the National Teacher of the Year, Urtubey will receive a paid year off from classroom duties to speak and serve as an advocate for the profession nationwide.