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Meet Our NY Teachers

Valerie Bottenus

Although she graduated with honors from Barnard College of Columbia University with a major in Art History, Valerie chose to make her professional career in the field of her first calling---dance. She had been a serious ballet student since the age of four and had spent her adolescent years at The School of American Ballet. While higher education had been fantastic, it was a no-brainer to return to dance -- considering her energy, her love of entertaining and her wanderlust.

It was her career as a dancer and a contortionist that led Valerie to teaching ESL at Rennert. After years of contracts that put her on stages in Japan and Europe, as well as on numerous round-the-world cruise ships, Valerie knew that she wanted to blend the exhilaration of meeting people from other countries and exploring cultural sites with spending more time in her native New York City. Becoming an ESL teacher was an incredibly logical fit, as it allowed her to funnel her energy into her classes and into introducing her students to the vast range of high and not-so-high culture that New York has to offer.

She loves the daily variety and stimulation of teaching and she is continually fascinated by the multitude of backgrounds that are to be found at Rennert. There have been many times when she has felt incredibly fortunate to be sitting in a classroom with students from three or more continents, engaged in a discussion that demonstrates how we are all much more similar than we are different. "I can't imagine a better job than facilitating that realization through a lively and creative dialogue," she says.

Weekends often find Valerie traveling, both as a manager of corporate and private entertainment events and as an adjudicator of national dance competitions. Rather than exhausting her, the mix of her many worlds gives her steam!

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