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Valerie Baalerud Named 2019 Lowell Milken Center Fellow

June 01, 2019

FORT SCOTT, KS – The Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, Kansas, an international educational non-profit, has awarded its prestigious Fellowship to history teacher, Valerie Baalerud, of Eagle River High School in Eagle River, AK. Valerie will arrive in Fort Scott on June 16th for a week of collaboration with LMC staff.

The LMC Fellowship is awarded on the basis of merit to educators who have distinguished themselves in teaching respect and understanding through project-based learning or who have the potential for this distinction. The Center selects exemplary teachers from across America and Europe, drawn from a variety of disciplines, to collaborate on projects that discover, develop, and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history.

Valerie Baalerud is the 2017 Milken Educator from Alaska. She teaches social studies at Eagle River High School (ERHS) where she believes in a hands-on approach to learning. She is known for creative, real world lesson planning and engaging interactive lectures. She believes that all students have the ability to succeed and works to help them define what that means to them.

Valerie is the social studies department chair, a member of the Alaska Department of Education's Teacher Advisory Board, and a teacher representative on Eagle River's PTSO. Following a 7.1 earthquake last November that left her school and community with heavy damage, Valerie worked with her husband and the PTSO to secure grant funding from ConocoPhillips to provide emergency backpacks for every classroom at ERHS. Valerie is also the head coach of the ERHS Drama, Debate, and Forensics team, has coached flag football and track, served as class adviser, and even performed in the yearly talent show as lead vocalist for the teacher band "Super Senior."

Currently, Valerie is pursuing a second Master's Degree in Educational Leadership, hoping to use her experience to further positively impact the lives of her students. Most recently she was honored to be asked to give the commencement address for the 2019 graduating class of ERHS, of which her daughter is the student body president.

LMC Executive Director Norm Conard says, "Valerie sets a high standard for creativity, innovation, and the use of real-world connections in the classroom. Her leadership as a motivational educator truly distinguishes our Fellowship."

While in Fort Scott, LMC Fellows gain knowledge, educational resources and ongoing support to enhance their classrooms and help students cultivate a passion for learning by creating projects that initiate positive change. Fellows emerge prepared to develop Unsung Heroes projects with their students as they apply and evaluate the stories of role models who have changed the world throughout history.

To schedule interviews or for more information, please contact:

Norm Conard
Executive Director
Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes
1 South Main
Fort Scott, KS 66701
Phone: (620) 223-1312

2019 Lowell Milken Center Fellow
Name:   Valerie Baalerud
School:  Eagle River High School
Subject:  Social Studies
8701 Yosemite Drive
Eagle River, AK 99577
Cell phone:  907-231-3494