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The newly named 2021 National Teacher of the Year says a silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic is that educators are embracing a flexible approach that meets students where they are. The pandemic revealed how learning difficulties, distractions, and challenging home dynamics can make it tough to adhere to a rigid curriculum. Juliana Urtubey is a Las Vegas special education teacher and was recognized with the award Thursday. She’s the first Nevada teacher to win. She formed a garden at her previous school. The selection committee cited the way it connected with the community and helped her students grow as a factor in naming her Teacher of the Year.