Phoebe Dong, Orchestra Teacher

Gretchen Klaubert

On July 1, 2013, Bill Lampl, a local teacher, volunteer, businessman, and school district parent, succeeded Kiddo!’s retiring founder, Trisha Garlock, as the Foundation’s Executive Director. Lampl brings to the position deep roots in the community, corporate management experience, and a commitment to preserving Kiddo!’s programs for future generations of Mill Valley children.

Orchestra / Instrumental Music teacher, Grades K-5

Gretchen Klaubert, the newest music teacher to the Mill Valley School District, had an interesting introduction to the world of music by her parents: There wasn’t one.

“My mom had to take piano lessons as a kid, and she hated it,” says Klaubert with a laugh. “So up until 4th grade, there was no music in my life. But in 4th grade, I had the opportunity to play flute, and I absolutely loved it.”

There was no turning back. And now, with nearly a quarter-century of teaching experience under her belt, Klaubert brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for music education, and she is set to inspire young minds and cultivate future musicians in her position at Old Mill and Tam Valley.

Klaubert's journey in music education began long before she graced the classrooms of Mill Valley. Born and raised on the East Coast, she attended the renowned Hartt School, a performing arts conservatory that is part of the University of Hartford, in Connecticut. There, she pursued her undergraduate degree in vocal music education, laying the foundation for her future as a dedicated music educator.

Klaubert’s pursuit of musical excellence did not stop there. She went on to earn her master's degree at Oakland’s Holy Names University, specializing in Kodály Emphasis, a method that focuses on children’s choral training with the use of hand signs — a testament to her commitment to music education. Her deep-rooted passion for teaching music has spanned over two decades, with nearly a decade of those years dedicated to nurturing budding musicians at Neal Cummins Elementary in Larkspur.

Though Klaubert began with the flute, her musical journey took an interesting twist in high school when her band director encouraged her to switch to the French Horn—an instrument that she wholeheartedly embraced. With the new instrument in hand, Klaubert dove deep into the offerings of the music department at her school, taking  classes such as AP music theory, guitar, and multitudes of musical workshops. It was clear that music was her true calling.

Reflecting on her high school years in New Jersey, Gretchen fondly remembers the thriving music program that her school boasted. With five full-time music teachers on staff, the school's dedication to musical education left a lasting impression on her.

Klaubert's dedication to teaching music is not confined to the classroom alone. Her "a-ha" moments with students often extend beyond the school walls, resonating in the hearts of both her pupils and their families. She takes immense pride in hearing that her students carry the songs, singing games, and musicianship skills they learn in class into their homes. One memorable instance involved a student who eagerly taught their younger sibling the songs they had learned in preparation for their own kindergarten music classes. For Gretchen, these moments are a testament to the profound impact of music education.

Music, Klaubert emphasizes, enhances students' cognitive development, social-emotional skills, and overall well-being – all those great educational buzzwords. But when Klaubert sits down to talk about the role of music in preparing students for life beyond elementary school, her enthusiasm, for lack of a better description, should be written in italics.

Believing music to be a transformative art form that connects people, provides an emotional outlet, and spreads joy and peace, she simply concludes, “For kids this age, I want music to be fun.”