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Juliana Urtubey, the 2021 National Teacher of the Year. Photo: Melissa Esparza/Council of Chief State School Officer

A Colombian-born special education teacher in a Nevada elementary school has been named the 2021 National Teacher of the Year.

Why it matters: Juliana Urtubey is the first Hispanic person to earn the honor since 2005. Her selection comes as the U.S. Latino student population grows and the national focus turns to reopening schools after the coronavirus outbreak.

Details: The 11-year classroom veteran teaches at Kermit R. Booker Sr. Innovative Elementary School in Las Vegas, where she serves as a co-teacher in pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade special education settings.

  • She was chosen by the Council of Chief State School Officers from a shortlist of state teachers of the year from 50 states, D.C., and U.S. territories.
  • Urtubey will spend a year in her new role representing educators and serving as an ambassador for students and teachers across the nation.

Urtubey told Telemundo Noticias she is proud to represent her community and her school, and that she was honored to meet first lady Jill Biden, herself an educator, during the presentation ceremony.

  • The bilingual Urtubey said she teaches many English-language learners in an area that has seen a jump in Latino students.

What they're saying: “Juliana Urtubey exemplifies the dedication, creativity and heart teachers bring to their students and communities,” said Carissa Moffat Miller, CCSSO chief executive officer.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Colleges crack down on unvaccinated students as campuses reopen

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Colleges and universities are welcoming students to campus against the backdrop of a nationwide surge of COVID-19 cases largely driven by the Delta variant — posing questions about how best to reopen campuses safely.

Driving the news: Some schools are turning to disciplinary actions — through fees or, in one case, suspending internet access — as a way to promote strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols. Others, however, are giving away prizes in an effort to incentivize students to get vaccinated.

The health case for getting kids back to school in person

Expand chart
Reproduced from KFF; Chart: Axios Visuals

Parents are much more likely to report their kids are experiencing negative effects if they are going to school virtually during the pandemic than if they attend school in person.

Why it matters: The new findings from the KFF Vaccine Monitor underscore the importance of keeping kids in school in person, which means doing it safely with masking for younger children and school staff despite controversies over mask requirements.

Updated 38 mins ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.