Music teacher Marla Schrettner describes the philosophy behind her teaching by saying, “In reaching out to students, I rely on the best memories of my early years and on the best of my training.” Ms. Schrettner’s earliest musical memories include feeling entranced while listening to music on the radio and, when she could reach the keys, replicating her favorite compositions on her grandmother’s piano. Later, when her father’s work took the family to the capital of Pakistan for six years, Ms. Schrettner continued her general and music education abroad, learning to play the recorder and the clarinet. She remembers that time fondly in large part because of the small nurturing school with challenging academics she attended, the International School of Islamabad.
Back in the United States and attending Oakton High School, “something clicked,” says Ms. Schrettner. “I saw that I could use my love of music as something to share with students.” She enrolled in studies at Virginia Tech, earning a BA in Music and an MA in Education. Now, finding herself teaching in a school that shares many features of the school she remembers enjoying as a child, Ms. Schrettner remarks, “This kind of school brings out the best in kids. Students can leave their mark and feel a valued part of the community. That’s when children learn best, when they sense that others believe they can succeed.” When she is not teaching, Ms. Schrettner enjoys dancing, hiking, and kayaking, and cheering for the Yankees and Hokies.