Teacher & Staff Bio

Coaches posted below teachers.


Mrs. Valerie Petty



I have been teaching at Newhart for over 20 years and I love the school and I have loads od fun doing what I do! 

Being a part of a musical family was how I greaw up. My father was also a middle school music teacher. I started playing the French Horn in 3rd grade which was fun, exciting, thrilling, hard-work and friend making. I have also played flute, trumpet in the jazz bands and sung in choirs. I went to U.S.C. (fight on!) with almost a full scholarship as I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Music Education and California teaching credential where I learned to play a lot more instruments, including piano and strings. I have also performed in numerous bands and orchestras throughout the years including the the All American College Band at Disneyland, the National Orchestral Institute in Maryland and the Henry Mancini Institute Jazz Orchestra.

I have 2 wonderful daughters, a wonderfully supportive husband and I try to carve away a little time to play my horn from time to time. My daughters also go to schools in Capistrano Unified and are at Tesoro H.S. (10th) and Las Flores M.S. (7th). They love playing soccer, creating art, cooking/baking, going to the beach and being musicians themselves. Both of my daughter's band directors either came through Newhart as MY band student or as a band/orchestras student teacher. Full circle...


I also work out at Orange Theory, am team manager for my youngest's club soccer team (Go Pateadores!), and volunteer as part of the Saddleback Valley National Charity League with both of my girls. We live in Wagon Wheel and have a cute rescue puppy (chi-weenie), Paisley. 

My goal for every student is to enjoy music, gain a greater love for music now and in their future, learn more than they thought they ever knew they could, to work as a positive member of their musical team to make amazing music and most importantly to have fun! One of my favorite music quotes is "music can change the world because it can change people." Bono



* Bachelor's Degree in Music Education in May 1997

* K-12th Grade Single Subject Music Credential from USC, May 1997

* Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from CSUF, May 2010

* Administration Credential from CSUF, May 2010

* Band & Orchestra Teacher at Newhart M.S. from 1997 - Current

* Choir Teacher at Newhart M.S. in 1997-1998 & 2012 - 2017

* Student Teacher in Arcadia USD at Arcadia HS & Foothills MS, Spring 1997

* Manager of District Honor Groups for 5 Seasons (various years)

* Technology Lead Teacher for CUSD, 2000 - Current

* Elective Department Chair, 2005 - 2009

* High School Graduate from Troy High School, Fullerton, 1997

* Currently, a local freelance french horn player playing in various local groups.

* Growing up she played in many performing groups including: OCYSO, Santa Ana Winds Marching Band, Tournament of Roses Honor Band, All CA State & All Southern CA Honor Bands & Orchestras, National Orchestral Institute, Henry Mancini Institute, Debut Chamber Orchestra and in the Disneyland's All American College Band.




Mrs. Sara Pedroza


Growing up in a small town in central California, I dedicated most of my time to the performing arts. I started dancing and playing music at the age of three. Before I had even started kindergarten, I was performing in tap shoes and playing in piano recitals. By the time I graduated high school I had picked up other instruments such as the clarinet (my main instrument), flute and soprano sax. Additionally, I had learned ballet, jazz, hip-hop, gymnastics and cheer. I was both a member of marching band and cheer all 4 years in high school. Some of my most cherished memories and best friends come from band, cheer and dance.


I moved to Orange County for college where I attended CSULB. I majored in music and minored in dance. During this time, I developed a deeper appreciation for choir and musical theater, a new love for modern and African dance and a passion for teaching music and movement. Years later, I received my single subject teaching credential in music and dance from CSULB.

Although I like performing, I absolutely love teaching. I strive to have my students see the bigger picture besides the black notes on a white page. I often tell stories while listening to music, or use movement to help students interpret music they will be performing. I also use music they know (pop music) to help them see the similarities and difference in musical styles they don’t know. Music can have a profound impact on a student’s life. It did on mine and my high school music teacher is the one that inspired me to become a music teacher. I chose middle school because I often see this as the time students really embrace the emotional side of music and start to master the technical aspect.


My first love however, goes to my outgoing, sweet daughter who starts kindergarten this year.  She is the absolute joy of my life! She has been called my mini me not only because she looks like me, but also because she loves singing and ballet!  She has convinced me over the last few years that we need a cat, dog and a fish (Mr. Bubbles). Some of my other hobbies are fitness (I taught group fitness classes and trained for years before my daughter was born), reading, biking, dirt bike riding, horseback riding and traveling. Teaching yoga has allowed me to roll over certain techniques for breathing, stretching and exercises for all musicians. I also attend Mariners, where I am an active leader and coach for our single parent community. I volunteer often to help women and children in shelters and help mentor foster kids.  

I am so excited to be a part of this school and this amazing music program Mrs. Petty has diligently created at Newhart Middle School. We are going to have an awesome year together!


* Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from CSULB in May 2013
* K -12 Grade Single Subject Music Credential from CSULB in May 2016
* Orchestra Teacher at Ladera Ranch Middle School 2018- Current
* Band, Orchestra and Choir Teacher at Newhart M.S. 2018- Current
* Assistant Stage Manager for Irvine Unified School District Honors Concert in May 2016
* Student Teacher at Sierra Vista Middle School for Irvine Unified in 2016
* Guild Instructor and Judge for Piano Performance, Huntington Beach Chapter, 2003- present
* Assistant Director and Woodwind Instructor for Huntington Beach Honor Band in May 2003
* Assistant Band Director, Assistant Color Guard/ Dance Coach and Assistant Drumline Coach at Marina High School in May 2002-2003
* Tehachapi Youth Football Cheer Coach in 1997
* High School Graduate from Tehachapi High School in June 1996




Michael Ellerby - Percussion Coach

Ann Ludwig - Double Reed Coach

Christy Alesi - Violin/Viola Coach


Christine Allen - String Bass Coach

Karen Deaner - Cello Coach