Renaissance Village Academy

About Us » Director's Message

Director's Message

Director's Message

I founded Renaissance Village Academy because I am passionately devoted to meeting the needs of gifted, profoundly gifted, and highly-motivated students. I wrote my first paper on the importance of specialized programs for gifted students when I was 15, following a family tradition. My grandaunt, who started teaching in 1916, wrote a similar paper in 1932, long before Sputnik brought the need to nurture these students to national attention.
I've experienced GATE programs firsthand, both as a student and as a teacher. I was in the Mentally Gifted Minors program in California beginning in the 3rd grade. I taught in the public school system for 20 years here in San Diego. Fifteen of those years were spent working with the profoundly gifted in San Diego Unified School District's (SDUSD) Seminar Program. These experiences inform my philosophy towards homework – less is more. Just because children are gifted doesn’t mean they need to do twice as much work as others. The quality of the assignments is of greater importance than the quantity thereof.

Credentials & Education

  • National Board Certification, Generalist/Early Adolescence, 2001
  • Mathematics Supplementary Authorization, 1992
  • SDUSD GATE Certification, June 1991
  • Social Science Supplementary Authorization, November 1989
  • California Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, December 1988
  • English Supplementary Authorization, December 1988
  • Masters of Arts in Teaching – National University, San Diego, 2003
  • (Emphasis in Educational Technology)
  • Credential Program, San Diego State University, December 1988
  • Bachelor of Arts - Magna Cum Laude, UC Irvine, September 1986
  • (Major in Russian Civilization, Minor in Linguistics)
But this doesn’t really tell you much about me. My husband and I have two cats, Ouroboros (Ourie) and T'Other, whom I dote on. I love to read – I inhale books, hence a school library already in excess of 4000 books. My favorite books are science fiction and non-fiction history. I also love to travel. In 2005 and 2007 I organized and chaperoned trips for 6th and 7th graders to Europe. We stayed in Youth Hostels, including a 13th century castle built by King John (famous as the evil prince in Robin Hood).
For four years I went to an Apache reservation to weave Burden Baskets with Evalena Henry, whose work is in the Smithsonian. I grow vegetables and fruits in my backyard, using the fresh produce in soups that I can for use throughout the year. And when I’ve time, which isn’t often now that I’ve started RVA, I work on counted cross-stitch projects.

"The year [my daughter] spent with Mrs. Retter in 6th grade was her very favorite year because for the first time in her life, a teacher understood how to challenge and channel her intelligence.
Mrs. Retter really understands that most profoundly gifted kids ARE different from other kids in the way they think and perform, and she is able to make the very most of that."
~ Parent Testimonial