Two Urban Teachers are Finalists for the 2021 Teacher of the Year
Alejandro Diasgranados was on the path of becoming a physical therapist until a brief stint as a substitute teacher ignited his passion for education and prompted him to apply to Teach for America (TFA).
Since 2015, Diasgranados has served as a fourth- and fifth grade teacher at Aiton Elementary School in Washington, D.C., where he has created partnerships to help meet the needs of his school community. He helped the school receive a grant for a laundry center from the Washington Football Team and his efforts led to the Drew Barrymore Show donating 265 laptops to help students at Aiton during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, the Council of Chief State Schools Officers recently named Diasgranados as one of four finalists for the 2021 National Teacher of the Year. The National Teacher of the Year Program identifies exceptional teachers across the country, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, engages them in a year of professional learning, and empowers them to participate in policy discussions at the state and national levels.
In addition to Diasgranados, another educator from a school district represented by the Council of the Great City Schools is a Teacher of the Year finalist.
Juliana Urtubey, a teacher at Kermit K. Booker Senior Innovative Elementary School in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, was also selected.
She serves as a co-teacher in pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade in special education settings and as an instructional strategist. Urtubey is the first Hispanic educator to be named Nevada State Teacher of the Year and in 2019 was the recipient of the Hispanic Education Association of Nevada Teacher of the Year award.
Every year, exemplary teachers from each state and the District of Columbia are selected to serve as State Teachers of the Year. Four finalists are then chosen to compete for the Teacher of the Year award, with the winner announced in the spring.