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Booker Elementary educator named Nevada Teacher of the Year

Updated September 23, 2020 - 2:43 pm

Booker Innovative Elementary School learning strategist Juliana Urtubey was named Wednesday as the 2021 Nevada Teacher of the Year.

Gov. Steve Sisolak and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert made the announcement during a virtual ceremony, with members of the Booker school community in attendance.

Urtubey started at Booker Elementary in central Las Vegas — part of the Clark County School District — at the beginning of this school year. She previously worked at Crestwood Elementary in Las Vegas for 10 years.

“My students and their families have always been my inspiration and each day they light the path we walk together,” she said in the news release. “It is an honor to receive this recognition and I’m so deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve my students and their families. Serving them is among the greatest joys in my life.”

Urtubey will represent Nevada in the National Teacher of the Year competition. She was selected from a pool of five finalists, including Perryn Hale of Martin Middle School in the Clark County School District, Shelly Nee of Pershing County High in the Pershing County School District, Christina Bourne of Mark Twain Elementary in the Carson City School District and Lynn Jeka of Yerington Elementary in the Lyon County School District.

The Nevada Teacher of the Year is selected from among educators who are nominated and then encouraged to apply, according to a news release from the Nevada Department of Education.

After an application and interview process, the Superintendent of Public Instruction chooses the recipient from among five finalists.

Urtubey, who was born in Bogota, Colombia, is a member of Ebert’s Teacher Advisory Cabinet. She’s passionate about “closing cultural and linguistic gaps that can exist between educators, students, and families” and works with students who face learning, mental, emotional or physical challenges, according to the release.

“Juliana represents the best and brightest of Nevada’s educators through her passion for understanding and meeting the unique needs of their students,” Sisolak said. “During this challenging time for our State, it is more important than ever to recognize and uplift the dedicated teachers who continue to make learning engaging and accessible for students.”

Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara said: “Ms. Urtubey is a teacher leader who works tirelessly to support the learning of her colleagues as well as her students. We are thrilled she will be representing the best of Nevada on the national stage.”

Urtubey goes above and beyond her required duties, Booker Elementary Principal Jose Silva said, calling the teacher “very kind, knowledgeable, supportive, and well-deserving of this recognition.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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