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Leah JuelkeLeah Juelke
Master of Education ’12
BA ’06, English Education

2019 Horizon Award
The Horizon Award recognizes alumni of the past 15 years who have demonstrated outstanding career achievements or have provided exceptional service to their community.

Leah Juelke is an English Language teacher at Fargo South High School and North Dakota’s 2018 Teacher of the Year. She teaches immigrant and refugee students, incorporating personal learning strategies, projects and team-based exercises to advance her students through four levels of English and transition them to mainstream classrooms. Leah’s innovative teaching methods and her deep personal and professional connection with her students are producing outcomes far beyond improving her students’ communication skills. While helping them develop critical skills, Leah also inspires her students to believe in themselves, to not be ashamed of where they come from and to understand that they alone set their limitations.

In 2013, Leah assigned her students a writing project to document their life experiences. Initially shared solely among her students, the essays included stories of children who lost loved ones to war, lived in refugee camps and sought asylum in the United States. Since then, Leah’s writing project has evolved into a national learning experience in cultural awareness.

Leah received a literacy grant in 2014 to publish Journey to America, a spiral-bound book containing her students’ stories of hardship, hope and resilience. Leah collaborated with NDSU faculty and students who provided in-class tutoring and supported her students throughout their writing process.

Since then, Leah’s students have shared their stories with the nation. They have been featured in magazines, literary journals, newspapers and radio while also sharing their stories at conferences and other events.

In 2017, Leah partnered with Minneapolis-based Green Card Voices to reach a larger audience and build a bridge between new Americans and the larger community. The partnership spawned a book about 31 Fargo South High School students from 21 countries and a resource guide that teachers can use to incorporate the students’ stories into their curriculum. Among her many recognitions, Leah was awarded the National Education Association’s 2019 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence; the 2018 North Dakota Teacher of the Year Award; the Fargo Public School District’s 2017 Teacher of the Year Award; and the NDSU Distinguished Student Teacher Award in 2006.

Leah taught overseas for four years and in the Fargo School District for the past six years. She is also a military veteran, having served in the Minnesota Army National Guard as a combat medic, platoon leader and medical instructor. She has two children, Samara and Salazander.




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