Teacher Of The Year

South High School English Learner Language Arts Instructor Leah Juelke has been named the Fargo Public Schools 2017 Teacher of the Year. Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Schatz made the surprise announcement at a school assembly on March 20 to students, staff and invited guests.

South High English Learner Language Arts Instructor Leah Juelke, center, is pictured with her husband Juan Cesares, daughter Samara, and Fargo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schatz.

A 2001 alumna of Fargo Public Schools, Juelke is also an alumna of North Dakota State University. Juelke began teaching with Fargo Public Schools in 2013 as an English Learners Language Arts instructor. She has also served as a substitute teacher and a summer school English as a Second Language instructor with Fargo Public Schools. Her previous teaching experiences include time as a long-term substitute Spanish instructor with Moorhead Public Schools, one year at a college preparatory school in Taipan, Taiwan; three years at a college preparatory school in Quito, Ecuador; and one year at a middle school in Colorado. In addition, Juelke has served as the South High Debate coach and Student Congress assistant coach for several years. Juelke received her master’s degree in Education from North Dakota State University in 2012. She served in the Army National Guard as a medical specialist and training instructor from 2003 to 2008.

Most recently, Juelke and her South High School English Learner students have received national media attention for the students’ short story narratives documenting their immigrant experiences. Now in the third year of the project, the EL students have presented their personal journeys in written form online and orally at a public presentation on the NDSU campus annually. This month, a national book project of these stories will be published by Green Card Voices of Minneapolis, MN.

Administrators wrote about Juelke’s dedication to embracing the incorporation of 21st Century skills and the principles of project based learning in her classroom. “Leah has taught students to be proud of their experiences, believe in themselves, and understand that they alone set their own limitations,” wrote her principal.

Juelke’s selection as Teacher of the Year was based on enthusiastic testimonials – from colleagues, administrators, and students – that paint a portrait of a teacher who is passionate about education and is dedicated to ensuring each student has the skills and mindset he or she needs to succeed.

Leah Juelke has been selected as the 2017 Teacher of the Year because she is a caring yet demanding teacher, an encourager, and a trusted advisor for her students, and because she is a role model for others – she has high expectations for herself and for her students. As a dedicated teaching professional, she provides the arena in which to meet and exceed those expectations. She truly practices the Fargo Public schools mission of educating and empowering all students to succeed.

Juelke follows Ed Clapp Elementary Second Grade Teacher Jennifer Kujanson as the District’s recipient of the Teacher of the Year honor. Her name will now be forwarded to the North Dakota Department of Instruction as a candidate for the North Dakota Teacher of the Year, awarded in the fall.

The award has been presented within the District since 1957. The honor is an award regularly bestowed as part of the District’s annual Staff Recognition Program. The District also annually recognizes a “Support Staff of the Year” and an “Administrator of the Year” as part of this recognition program.