2018 North Dakota Teacher of the Year
Leah Juelke’s greatest accomplishment in education is giving her students a voice and a platform to express themselves. As a high school English Learner teacher at Fargo South High School, Leah has taught refugees and immigrants from over 25 different countries including; Nepal, Congo, Somalia, Iraq, Eritrea, Vietnam, Mexico and Liberia. Leah's passion is to strengthen her students' writing skills and help to educate others about cultural diversity, so she started the Journey to America Project. Through a collaborative partnership with local universities, the project evolved into an internationally recognized, multi-volume piece anthology of narrative stories detailing students’ challenging treks to America. In 2015, Leah was awarded the Fund for Teachers Fellowship to go to Tanzania and South Africa to study culture and train Tanzanian teachers. During the summer of 2016, Leah created a partnership with Green Card Voices, an organization that helps immigrants tell their stories. Now, Leah's students are featured in a new book, Green Card Youth Voices: Stories from a Fargo High School. In 2017, Leah's students won awards for their stories from the Scholastic Art and Writing Contest and the ND Reflections Contest. Leah coaches student congress and was also named the 2017 ND Debate Coach of the Year. She has taught overseas in Ecuador, Taiwan, Costa Rica and China. She served in the Army National Guard as a medic. Leah earned her B.A. in English Education and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from NDSU, along with ELL Certification from Valley City State University.