Working at Jennings Community School has been an incredibly rewarding phase of Val’s teaching career. From travels with students to Puerto Rico, Virginia, and New Orleans, to the introduction of a school-wide annual FEAST put on by the advisories, Val has witnessed the benefits of working as a teacher in a school that follows an experiential learning model. She also thoroughly enjoys leading student reading groups on books chosen by students, teaching creative seminars, and bringing in speakers who engage the student body. Having grown up on a dairy farm and participating in 4-H, Val learned how valuable learning can be when young learners choose their topics and dive deep into the project process. Val earned her degree in English Education from Northwestern College in 1991 and taught language arts in Eden Prairie for seven years before doing six years of student teaching supervision throughout the Twin Cities. While making her return to teaching, Val had a brief exposure to an alternative education classroom and was convinced that she needed to seek out a new type of school that would allow her to work in a smaller, more nurturing environment focused on helping students follow their passions at their own pace. Recently, Val completed a work-based learning certification through Bethel University and will also work as Work-Based Learning Coordinator at Jennings. She hopes to help students earn credit through participation in mentorship/apprenticeship programs, job shadowing, internships, and more.