Letunya Walker, Teacher of the Year

Letunya Walker, Ed.D., has been named the 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year by the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Ms. Walker works with youth in Atlanta at the Metro Regional Youth Detention Center, teaching them language arts, science and life skills.

“I feel my greatest contribution to education has been made in the juvenile system,” says Ms. Walker, who has worked in education and administration for 21 years, the last eight at DJJ. “These youth are often written off as failures because of their behavior, but I believe it is my responsibility to introduce them to a new way of thinking and processing knowledge.”

Many of the youth that come through her classroom have not been actively engaged in their own education since elementary school, Walker says. Getting them to re-engage with learning and put effort into their work can be a challenge, but it is one that she finds rewarding.

“I do what I do because it’s a calling,” says Ms. Walker. “The greatest reward is when a student has grasped a concept and the joy expressed from this discovery.”

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