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Val received her BA in Psychology from The University of Arizona and her MA and PhD degrees in Education and Human Development from The University of Rochester. She held a postdoctoral fellowship in Psychology from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Val's research and publications are in the area of children's social development and peer relationships.
Val and her husband, Chuck, raised their two sons in Winnetka, Illinois before moving to Vermont in 2009. In Winnetka, Val was a community leader in early childhood education. She served as President of The Alliance for Early Childhood, a not-for-profit child advocacy organization which provides programs and support for parents and early childhood professionals. Val also led a task force to develop and implement a before-and-after-school childcare program in the Winnetka Public Schools and then served as its founding Director. She also held the position of Co-Director of the Winnetka Public School Nursery.
Upon moving to Vermont, Val joined the board of the not-for-profit VSA Vermont whose cornerstone program, Start With The Arts, provides a literacy-based arts curriculum to preschool children in home-based daycare.