Tuesday, Sep 12, 2023
Yulieth Le ’15 is a teacher in the Lawrence Township Public School District
by Diane Cornell
Yulieth Le ’15, a teacher in the Lawrence Township Public School District, has been named Mercer County Teacher of the Year by the New Jersey Department of Education. The honor recognized Le’s efforts to create an inclusive environment for students in the classroom.
“Exploring ways to make my classroom, and my school, more inclusive to all families is something that I began focusing on while teaching during the pandemic,” says Le, who first noticed a communication disconnect for her students whose families only spoke Spanish during remote learning. “As the only Hispanic teacher in my school, I felt an immense responsibility to speak out and try to help.”
Part of that assistance was to reestablish Latinos Unidos, a program sponsored by the Lawrence Township Education Association. Its focus is to create a community of Latinos to help bridge communication between school and home.
Prior to being named Lawrence Intermediate School’s enrichment specialist and gifted education teacher recently, Le worked there as a fourth grade teacher for the past seven years. She has received several classroom grants from the Lawrence Township Education Foundation, providing hands-on experiences for students, flexible seating options, and inclusive and diverse books for her classroom library.
Exploring ways to make my classroom, and my school, more inclusive to all families is something that I began focusing on while teaching during the pandemic."
Nominated by her school through the Governor's Educator of the Year Program, Le will now network with educators throughout the state, serving with other county teachers of the year as ambassadors for New Jersey’s public schools during the school year.
Le says she is committed to creating an environment where all students and families feel respected and welcomed. The importance of which she experienced firsthand as a third grade student when her family immigrated to the United States from Costa Rica.
“My third grade teacher, Mrs. Destribats, was the first of many teachers who guided me toward my decision to become an educator,” says Le. “I understood and spoke very little English. She bridged my language barrier and found ways to connect with me, making me feel included and valued. I decided then that I wanted to pursue a career in teaching so that I, too, could help make a difference.”
Le credits her Rider education with helping to prepare her for a richly rewarding career.
Rider’s small classes allowed me to make personal connections with my professors. I felt comfortable asking them questions and going to them for help and advice,” she says. “Thanks to my education at Rider, I felt prepared and confident to take on the role of a classroom teacher.”
A panel of educators will select the state’s Teacher of the Year from among the county winners. That educator will go on to represent New Jersey in competing for the title of National Teacher of the Year.