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Jill Biden surprises National Teacher of the Year

This year's National Teacher of the Year had a surprise guest to help her celebrate her new title: Jill Biden.

The first lady, a community college professor, made a surprise visit to Juliana Urtubey's elementary school in Las Vegas on Thursday to recognize the special education teacher.

Holding a bouquet of flowers, Biden offered congratulations to Urtubey:

The first lady, who teaches at Northern Virginia Community College, has been crisscrossing the country, visiting schools and colleges in an effort to build support for President Biden's American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan.

"For so long teachers were undervalued, but now hopefully all of America after this pandemic has seen what teachers have done and how they've just taken care of our kids. It's been such a hard time. Teachers have risen to this moment," Jill Biden said.

In an interview before being surprised by Biden, Urtubey reflected on the challenges for teachers during the coronavirus pandemic

"It's been tough, it's been a hard year," she told host Gayle King on "CBS This Morning." "We've been through a lot of loss. We're here though. We're here, and we're doing well, and we're doing our best to stay connected."

- Updated at 10:52 a.m.

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