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Media Releases

Ohio Department of Education Press Releases

Norwood Middle School Teacher Named Ohio Teacher of the Year

Release date: 10/4/2019

Citing her passion to lift up her students and nurture a love of learning, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria surprised students and staff at Norwood Middle School by announcing Leila Kubesch’s selection as Ohio’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

"Leila Kubesch taps into her students’ interests and passions and enables them to reach their full potential,” said Superintendent DeMaria. “She fundamentally believes that every child can succeed – and she holds herself and her students to high expectations to achieve that success.”

A teacher of Spanish and English as a second language, Kubesch is consistently praised for her resourceful and creative approach to lessons. With the goal of empowering all youth in the same manner as those in more affluent communities, she seeks resources and community partnerships where students can participate in service-learning projects to build confidence and strengthen their desire to learn.

One particular lesson highlights how Kubesch connects student learning to the Norwood community. Her students have collaborated with a local cable television station and other partners to create a talk show involving community experts on topics that interest youth. Her students developed connections and resources as they engaged in all aspects of publicity and production. The project was a tremendous success, earning Kubesch and her students the Ohio Education Association Media for Public Service Award for excellent educational programming. Kubesch also received a Martha Holden Jennings Foundation Grant to expand the studio and broaden the program.

Katherine Sabo, superintendent of Norwood City School District, praised Kubesch's ability to connect with students facing challenges. "Leila is a force in bringing our students and community together in the act of learning,” said Sabo. “She regularly visits the homes of her students to cultivate mutual trust and respect, and to make sure parents stay involved in the education of their children.”

Kubesch’s passion for equity and social justice extends far beyond the classroom. She has raised awareness of issues facing emancipated foster youth in Ohio by making presentations on the topic, including to TEDxCincinnati, where she won the Audience Choice Award.

Kubesch, a National Board Certified teacher, holds a Master of Science in Educational Leadership, as well as a Master of Arts in Secondary Education, both from Purdue University.

2020 Ohio Teacher of the Year Ceremony