LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — After a surprise visit from the first lady, there were more visitors congratulating Juliana Urtubey on her recognition as the National Teacher of the Year — from the governor to the ones closest to her.
It was an emotional day at Kermit R. Booker Elementary School as they celebrated Juliana Urtubey.
8 News Now was able to speak with her parents, who she credits as her backbone through her career in education.
It a first for Nevada, as Urtubey was recognized as the National Teacher of the Year for 2021 and the first Latina finalist for the award since 1992.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Ms. Urtubey for representing her students our state and educators throughout the nation,” said Governor Steve Sisolak.
Urtubey is a special education teacher.
“It’s an emotional day. It’s a happy day. These tears are tears of joy,” Urtubey said.
Those emotions were shared by Urtubey’s family as they beamed with pride about their daughter’s new title.
“She worked so hard for so many years and every single project is so serious for her,” said Yolima Otalora, Urtubey’s mother.
Her parents say Urtubey’s love for wanting to make a difference started even before her teaching career.
“In first grade there was a blind student and she helped her do everything,” said Carlos Urtubey, Juliana’s father.
That need for wanting to help has put Urtubey in the national spotlight.
“I take the time to understand who they are and understand their journey and their stories and uplift them in a way that brings their strengths forward,” Urtubey said.
Urtubey says as we celebrate her, she will continue celebrating all the teachers across the country.