Linda Valentine, a graphics instructor at Robbinsdale Academy - Highview, in Golden Valley, has been named staff member of the year by the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs (MAAP).
The award honors teachers who support MAAP’s mission to lead, promote and support innovative learning experiences for all Minnesota students while also volunteering with the organization.
“It's nice to be recognized but there are always people doing great work that never get recognized,” a modest Valentine said about the award. “Having a student say thank you, or having students say that you have impacted their lives means (a lot) more.”
Valentine, who has been a teacher at Robbinsdale Academy - Highview since 2008, said she’s passionate about making a difference for students, whether it’s teaching new skills, or extending a helping hand or shoulder to cry on. “I want our students to have a rich, fulfilling life and I try to help them down that path,” she said.
Toni Boyden, principal at Highview, said Valentine is the heart of the school, and deserving of the recognition.
“Linda has given her soul to teaching, and maintains high standards and integrity in her work with our students,” said Boyden. “She has dedicated her skill set and time to MAAP, fostering their mission to lead, promote and support innovative learning experiences for students attending alternative programs.”
Valentine was formally recognized by the Robbinsdale Area School Board at its Feb. 1, 2021, business meeting, where Interim Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Burrage encouraged directors to check her out in action. “If you have never been to her classroom then you’re missing out on a treat,” said Dr. Burrage. “She is just awesome.”
As a teacher at Highview, Valentine has been active with MAAP and its STARS program, which is a student organization she helped bring to the school. Students who are part of the organization develop employment, academic and social skills; engage in a number of career-related activities; and participate in events each year. One of those events -- the Northwest Metro Regional Conference -- is something Valentine has helped organize, from start to finish, for 12 years.
“I am a worker bee who is committed to student opportunities and success,” she said.
Valentine is also known as an advocate for women in the workforce, women's equality and career and technical education (CTE) programming -- all things Boyden says she brings to her valuable role at Highview. And if all that wasn’t enough, Valentine is also an instructor at Hennepin Technical College.
Robbinsdale Academy - Highview offers a full high school curriculum in an alternative setting. The school offers a more personal environment for students who prefer a smaller learning environment. Students have individualized, self-paced work, and opportunities for success through flexibility and choices.