Laura Valentine is the Extension 4-H Youth Development Educator serving the metro areas of Grundy, Kankakee, & Will Counties. In this role, Laura is a catalyst for change in the community, providing youth with the confidence and skills they need to develop into young people who are empowered for life today.
As a 4-H Educator, Laura delivers impactful programming that makes a difference based on the 4-H Thriving Model: a method of learning that defines Illinois 4-H, University of Illinois' flagship youth development program. This research-based approach focuses on positive youth development and is supported by comprehensive programming and research.
Throughout her career, Laura has consistently prioritized the growth and development of young people. As a classroom teacher for twelve years, she taught both English Language Arts and Science, dedicating six years to each subject. During this time, Laura launched a STEM night at her school and initiated numerous community-driven programs aimed at fostering unity. With a focus on promoting inclusive, safe spaces for learning, she instituted a successful after-school and summer program for Somalian refugees as they transitioned to American living.
Laura holds two master’s degrees from Concordia University in Teacher Leadership (2020) and Differentiated Instruction (2013). During her undergrad at Augustana College where she majored in Elementary Education, she was a research fellow focusing on math strategies to reach exceptional learners on both ends of the achievement spectrum.
Outside her work with Illinois Extension, Laura is always on the move and likes to spend time with her young daughter and two dogs. She also loves reading, music, and tacos.
- MA | Teacher Leadership | Concordia University (2020)
- MA | Differentiated Instruction | Concordia University (2013)
- BA | Elementary Education - Augustana College (2007)
Illinois Teaching Subject Endorsements
- General and Physical Science
- English Language Arts
- Social Studies