Southern Nevada educator a National Teacher of the Year finalist

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The countdown is on for the big National Teacher of the Year reveal. While 56 teachers were in the running, it has been narrowed down to four.

One of these finalists is an educator from right here in the Silver State.

Juliana Urtubey teaches Pre-K through fifth grade at Kermit Booker Elementary School. She’s the first Latina to be a finalist for Teacher of the Year since at least 1992 in Nevada.

Not only is Urtubey an educator, but she is also an advocate. She has a Bachelor of Arts in bilingual elementary education and a masters from the University of Arizona.

Urtubey is also a national board-certified teacher for both exceptional needs students and young adults.

“I’m touched, and I’m grateful. This is the year we have to represent teachers and do it with love and with a smile,” she said, “and so, I promise to do that to the best of my abilities and to really encourage all teachers to reflect deeply about their practice.”

Urtubey’s students know her as “Ms. Earth,” sine she strives to beautify the school and unify them through the use of gardens and murals.

“Sweet, honest and a very good teacher,” said third-grader Edward Williams.

Parent Tonya Williams shared, “It is exciting. It is just, like, I think it’s a privilege to be a part of it, have my kids be in the school. I’m so happy for her.”

The 2021 National Teacher of the Year will spend the next year serving as an ambassador for education and an advocate for all teachers and students.

As for the winner, it will officially be announced Thursday. The other three finalists are a middle school teacher from Salt Lake City, a high school teacher from Fayetteville, North Carolina, and an elementary school teacher from Washington D.C.

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