Joan Fretz, Huntington’s Director of Fine & Performing Arts, To Retire

Filed under: Around Town,Huntington Union Free School District,News |

After a career spanning more than three decades, the Huntington School District’s director of fine and performing arts plans to retire at the end of the current school year.

The Huntington School Board approved Ms. Fretz’s retirement request during its public meeting this past Monday night. This marks the longtime educator’s 26th year in Huntington. She came to the district from the nearby Elwood School District.

“It has been an honor to be a part of this wonderful community and I would like to express my appreciation to the past and present boards of education for the opportunity to contribute,” Ms. Fretz said. “I have learned so much from all of my colleagues and our students.”

Ms. Fretz earned her undergraduate degree in music education at Hofstra University. She obtained a Master of Science degree in music education and a professional diploma in educational administration at Long Island University. She holds a Master level certificate in the Orff-Schulwerk approach to music education from Memphis State University.

“Ms. Fretz has played a principal role in the development of Huntington’s outstanding fine and performing arts programs,” Superintendent James W. Polansky. “As a result of her efforts and the efforts of her departmental staff over the years, Huntington has been and remains home to among the most talented and accomplished student artists and musicians in the region.”

A Long Island educator for the past 36 years, Ms. Fretz began her career as a vocal music teacher in the Manhasset School District, where she developed a sequential music literacy program and completed her administrative internship. She has served as an adjunct professor at Hofstra University and has presented music education workshops at state and national music conferences throughout the United States and Canada.

The veteran administrator is well-known for developing interdisciplinary projects that use music and movement to teach all areas of the school curriculum. Ms. Fretz takes delight in working with an outstanding group of teachers and supporting creative and talented young artists and musicians.

“I often tell our teachers that it’s important to pursue your passions and always find ways to challenge yourself,” Ms. Fretz said. “With that in mind, I have decided to retire at the close of business on June 30 to pursue new opportunities in higher education and educational consulting.”

Under Mrs. Fretz’ leadership, Huntington’s art and music students and district programs have earned numerous local, regional, state and national awards. She has a passion for learning about how teachers can influence their students’ self-concept, help them discover their unique talents and realize their full potential.

Ms. Fretz has presented numerous teacher training sessions on growth mindsets, invitational education and optimal learning experiences in Huntington, as well as local at international conferences. She has devoted many years of volunteer service to educational associations.

A past-president of the Long Island American Orff-Schulwerk Association, Ms. Fretz served as the state chairperson for elementary music for New York State for seven years and is a longtime executive board member of the Long Island Social Emotional Literacy Forum, which she helped to establish.

“I regretfully leave behind an incredibly talented staff, whose dedication and talent has produced thriving music and art programs,” Ms. Fretz said. “I trust that the district will continue to support our arts educators and their efforts, for the benefit of all current and future Huntington students.”

In her spare time Ms. Fretz enjoys writing articles for educational journals and developing educational workshops and conferences and she still tries to find time to play her flute.

“The Huntington teachers and students have given me the greatest gift,” Ms. Fretz said. “Through their work together, they’ve taught me what’s most important in education: to see everyone as able, valuable and capable of being responsible, to acknowledge and cultivate their strengths and to never let anyone waste their talents. When we do, we all will realize our potential.”

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