Who is Judy Juanita? Laney teacher promotes book on Last Chance U

Each season of Last Chance U, there has been a stand-out teacher who goes above and beyond for their students.

We all know and love Brittany Wagner, who has switched up her teaching career to become a motivational speaker. But there are questions about the new English teacher on Last Chance U season 5, who already has found fame prior to the show.

Judy Juanita is the English teacher at Laney College, who is seen teaching the football players a book called ‘Virgin Soul’ throughout Last Chance U. Eagle-eyed viewers then spotted that the book was written by Judy herself, leading to questions about the teacher.

So, we’ve done some digging to find out about Judy Juanita and her career as an author. Meet the Last Chance U English teacher here!

Screenshot: Last Chance U S5 E3 – Netflix

Who is Judy Juanita?

Judy Juanita, who was born Judith Hart, is a 74-year-old author, poet and teacher from Berkley, California. She was raised and is now based in Oakland, where Laney College is.

In the late 1960s, Judy was a college undergraduate at San Francisco State and editor-in-chief of the main Black Panther Party newspaper.


While at San Francisco State, she obtained an BA in psychology and MFA in creative writing. Judy went on to teach there as a Black Psychology and Black Journalism instructor in the first Black Studies program in the United States.

  • UPDATE: Where are the Last Chance U: Laney football players now?

What is Judy Juanita’s book?

In 2013, Judy published her semi-autobiographical novel called ‘Virgin Soul’. In this book, we follow Geniece, an undergraduate who joins the Black Panthers.

Judy only started to pen her novel when she realised what an historic period and movement she lived through. Speaking to the LA Times about why she started ‘Virgin Soul’ in the 2000s, Judy said:

Looking back, I realized how historic it was. I started taking notes and writing down recollections: people’s names, nicknames, everything I could remember. But I didn’t have the chops to write a novel then. So I started taking writing workshops, writing poetry and taking playwriting workshops. Eventually, I had enough maturity to tackle the novel.

Judy on Last Chance U

Judy’s first class session appears in episode 3 of Last Chance U. This is where we can see the football players reading her book.

Fans were quick to spot that she was doing some self-promotional work, as her novel was the subject of class discussion.

One viewer tweeted: “Prof. Judy Juanita is teaching her own book in class. Cant knock her hustle. They showed it so much I had to look her up.”

But Judy’s treatment of football player Nu’u has landed her in some criticism, as she did not allow him into class with his two daughters. This did not go down well with viewers on Twitter.




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