Valerie Heller

Art Form(s)
Artist Credentials
Teaching Artist Institute Graduate
About this Artist

Pronouns: she/her

Fueled by her passion to help writers of all ages find their voice on the page, Valerie brings a writer’s lens and over 20 years of experience as a creative writing teacher and workshop facilitator to her residencies. A product of and lifelong advocate for arts education, Valerie believes deeply in the power of writing to heal and empower students, especially when they find the courage to tell their own stories. She believes that writing is best taught experientially and that the biggest discoveries come when students are immersed in the messiness of the writing process. A writer of books for young adult and middle-grade readers, Valerie creates stories of transformation and healing, of acceptance and belonging, of courage and vulnerability. She enriches her workshops with the gems she has learned firsthand working with leading writers in the kidlit community, including Crystal Allen, Meg Medina, Kate Messner, Linda Sue Park, Linda Urban, and Gary D. Schmidt.

Writer + Teacher + Healer = HEARTist. What does a heartist do? I create stories. Whole worlds on the page. I create safe spaces for others to explore their voices. To express what matters most to them. To look inside and to see what is waiting to be discovered. I create healing in a broken world – one word, one sentence, one story at a time. And sometimes, I create just for fun. Play with what might be if I splash color and light and emotion onto blank pages, letting the ink run into lines of imagination. Finding words I didn’t know were there until they appeared on the page. I create beauty, empathy, and peace. I create community and connection. I look forward to creating all of these things with you and your students. A space where they feel safe to speak their truths. A space where they feel inspired to find their voices on the page. A space where we can raise our voices together, above the noise, in our own beautiful song. Who knows what we will create…together.


"Valerie did an amazing job setting the tone and making the classroom an environment where students felt safe to take creative risks. The critic was kicked out till day 5, and the students loved that. They dug into their emotions, mined their experiences, and explored their identity to find their voice on the page. We already miss her!"
Rachel Pratt, Art Teacher, Chesapeake Science Point Charter School

"Valerie inspired her students across the board, and even reached students who don’t normally contribute in class. Her methods are very effective--and they are necessary as a way to develop the creative writing abilities of young people."
Laura Zam, Author and Teaching Artist Institute Faculty

"Thank you for the fun classes we had with you about voice in writing. I really enjoyed writing with you because I got to express myself. I hope you continue to enjoy writing and make others happy like you did here!"
Dylan, Student, Chesapeake Science Point Charter School