Project Description

Amy Valens

Amy Valens

Amy Valens began her teaching career in 1968 in the public schools of Dayton Ohio. After a brief stint teaching in an independent Summerhill based school in Los Angeles, she returned to public school teaching in Northern California. She joined the Open Classroom of the Lagunitas School District in 1974, and retired in 2006. She is also the author of two children’s books: Jesse’s Daycare (Houghton Mifflin) and Danilo the Fruit Man (Dial). In more recent years, Amy might best be known as a Co-Director, Co-Producer, and spontaneous “screenwriter” for August To June: bringing Life to School.

“I wasn’t initially convinced that having a cameraman, even if he was my husband, in my classroom so much of the school year was a workable concept, but Tom persevered. He ended up with 300 hours of video that captured so much—from classroom instruction to playground secrets, and I was hooked. It became our project.

There is so much one film cannot show, and I regret how much had to be left “on the cutting room floor”. It is important to note that I did not teach in a vacuum. My fellow teachers and the parent community were vital in creating an atmosphere of trust and exploration for our students and for ourselves. While a single teacher can build a wonderful classroom, when an entire school works together, there are exponential gains.”

Currently, Educator Amy Valens remains engaged in advancing awareness for the quality that is a democratic education. She and her husband Tom are producing what Edutopia calls “An Exciting New Film Series,” A Year at Mission Hill.