From Jacksonville, Florida, Ms. Stephenson is an experienced vocal and instrumental teacher of all ages. She is an active handbell composer, arranger, author, conductor, and clinician. Ms Stephenson served on the Area VI Board of the AGEHR in a variety of positions for fourteen years, including representing that area on the national board. She is currently serving as Florida State Chair for Area IV of the AGEHR. Valerie also conducts and rings in the Southside Handbell Ensemble (a quartet).
Ms. Stephenson graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelr's Degree in Music Education. She subsequently attended the University of Wisconsin and obtained a Master's Degree in Composition and Theory and was awarded a Ford Foundation Grant for that study. She is a "Nationally Registered Music Educator" and "Nationally Certified Music Educator" by the Music Educators National Conference.
During her tenure as music director at Trinity Episcopal School (1979–1992), she was granted one of the first "Exemplary Handbell Program" awards ever given by the AGEHR. Her school parent group further awarded her their "Enrichment Grant" for summer study of change and tower ringing and boys' choirs in England.
While also at Trinity, Ms. Stephenson co‑wrote three musicals for children(fourth grade through adults) called "Awareness Musicals". These musicals entertained the environmental themes of pollution, recycling, and destruction of the rain forest. Two of these plays were subsequently performed at the Petit Theatre de Viex Carre in New Orleans, Louisiana and the Summer Arts Program in Jacksonville, Florida.
In 1992, Ms. Stephenson retired from public and private school teaching to actively pursue composing and conducting in the field of handbells, which she still does today.