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Release Date: 1/7/2019
Contact: Brandon Oland, 443.809.5908

Randallstown Elementary assistant principal named to Global 30 Under 30 List

Michelle Valerio honored for promoting literacy

Towson, MD — Michelle Valerio, assistant principal at Randallstown Elementary School, is one of 30 literacy leaders named to the International Literacy Association’s 2019 30 Under 30 list. This year’s honorees include educators, school administrators, nonprofit leaders, authors, volunteers, researchers and social entrepreneurs representing 13 countries — a cohort of young innovators, disruptors, and visionariescreating positive change in the global literacy landscape.

Valerio, a 28-year-old Reisterstown resident, is in her first year at Randallstown Elementary. The 30 Under 30 award recognizes her previous work as a teacher at Padonia International Elementary School, where she taught English learners in partially bilingual classes and sponsored the Mighty Girls and Good Guys Book Club, which focused on reading culturally diverse texts with strong female protagonists. Valerio, whose family emigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic, was herself an English learner.

In the Literacy Today profile of Valerio, she is quoted as saying, “Students need to love reading in order to access opportunities they might not have available to them. Literacy is something that no one can take away from them. Literacy is independent of social standing, it does not require citizenship, and is not only for a specific group of people. This alone makes literacy a crucial and essential tool to eliminating barriers.”

"I am incredibly proud of Ms. Valerio, who represents the core of my vision to develop every one of our young people as lifelong learners and thinkers by focusing on literacy every day," said Interim Superintendent Verletta White. "She is helping students develop the gift of freedom through the written word."

Valerio began her teaching career with BCPS in 2012 after earning an undergraduate degree from Long Island University. She taught for three years at Hampton Elementary and two years at Padonia International Elementary, before joining the administrative team at Randallstown Elementary. She is pursuing a doctorate in social change and policy at Morgan State University, the school from which she earned a master’s degree in supervision and administration.

“I found have Ms. Valerio, a recent member to the Randallstown Elementary family, to be an enthusiastic team player,” said Principal Lois Stokes. “She is helping to break down barriers that have often impeded learning opportunities for some of our students.She is bridging the literacy gaps for all students, with a specific focus on writing in all content areas.Her energy level and personal perspective are welcomed and well-respected.”

Others in this year’s elite 30 Under 30 class of emerging leaders include Allister Chang, the executive director of Libraries Without Borders; Marley Dias (age 14), founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks; Freshta Karim, founder of a mobile library in Afghanistan; Nangamso Mtsatse, a doctoral student in South Africa researching how to improve the teaching and learning of African languages; Daniel Reichard of Virginia, who was named Washington Post’s 2018 Teacher of the Year; and Nandini Varma, co-founder of the Airplane Poetry Movement in India.

“The individuals on this list are solving critical issues—issues many of them have faced on their own paths to success,” says International Literacy Association Executive Director Marcie Craig Post. “Their contributions are paving the way to more accessible and equitable literacy learning in their schools, communities and beyond. It’s an honor to recognize these young leaders whose vision and tenacity are transforming our world.”

The 30 Under 30 honorees are featured in the January/February issue of Literacy Today, the International Literacy Association’s bi-monthly magazine, which published today.

The International Literacy Association is a global advocacy and membership organization dedicated to advancing literacy for all through its network of more than 300,000 literacy educators, researchers and experts across 146 countries.

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Baltimore County Public Schools
6901 Charles Street
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443-809-4554

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Verletta White
Interim Superintendent

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