Staff Profile

Mrs. Valerie Harnisch

Faculty Information

Preschool Co-Director

Contact Information

School Phone

Other Information



M.Ed. - Educational Psychology in Social Foundations - University of Virginia
B.B.A. - Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana

Professional Background (write in 1st person)

I have always loved children and teaching. My first job was being a tap dance instructor/demonstrator for my tap dance teacher when she was pregnant. I was twelve years old. It wasn't long after I began working as a gymnastics instructor at the same dance studio. I worked as a dance and gymnastics instructor all through high school. During college, I nannied and worked at a real estate firm. In college, I studied finance and international business. After college, I spent years in the world of finance working in commercial and retail lending, credit cards, and securities and annuities. I put that career path on hold to take on the best job in the world, mom. I spent ten years being a stay at home mom and I loved every minute of it. When my kids all started school, I began volunteering and ultimately realized I wanted to be in the classroom to pursue my life long passion of teaching. Early on, I had the opportunity to do some teaching at my children's school and I jumped at the chance. Realizing I needed to be current on the world of education and modern day teaching methods and philosophies, I went back to grad school to get my Masters in Education. While completing my masters, I began teaching preschool at a private school in McLean. I spent years there building a solid foundation in preschool and early elementary education. My experience there made me a well rounded educator and more than prepared me to explore greater challenges in the world of education. When the opportunity presented itself to build a preschool program at OLGC, I knew I wanted to be part of a special and meaningful project. I look forward to spending many years at OLGC growing as an educator and growing the program to be the best in the area.

Faith in Action

I am grateful everyday to have the opportunity to be instrumental in developing a child's love of school and learning. Teaching the youngest of students requires lots of love and patience. I truly believe God has given me those tools to be the type of teacher I am and desire to be. I like to think I come to school every day with a smile, but if for some reason my day is not off to a bright a start as I would like, I know it will only be temporary as a smile, a sweet hello, or a big hug from a student inevitably changes the course of the day for the better! There is no doubt in my mind that my faith in God and his work in mysterious ways has a little something to do in changing my outlook for the day!

Favorite Teaching Moment

My favorite teaching moment is when I can help my own children with their homework and they look at me and say "thank you, mom".

Favorite Food

I love a great steak dinner, chocolate chip cookies and popcorn.

Favorite Activity Outside of School

I love to shop, attend Notre Dame football games, and meet up with friends for dinner.

Fun Fact About Me

I was on the University of Notre Dame Pom squad back in the day!