Beloved Oakland music teacher remembered

Image 1 of 2

Students and Oakland schools staff came together on Wednesday to remember a beloved Montclair Elementary School music teacher who died last month.

Wanda Redman-Eklund, who taught music at the school for decades, died July 23 of gallbladder cancer, school officials said. She was 71.

The celebration of life was attended by more than 100 former students, families and staff whose life were touched by the longtime teacher, according to a release from Oakland Unified School District communications director John Sasaki.

Her friends, fellow teachers and former students spoke about the impact that "Ms. Wanda" had on their lives. "I'm going off to (the University of California, Santa Barbara) in September and I'm going to be minoring in music and I think that probably wouldn't be the case if it weren't for Wanda," former student Garrett Post said in a news release from the district.

Redman-Eklund had "such a large impact on all of us, and potentially the rest of my career and life," Post said.

Redman-Eklund started off in 1994 as a music enrichment teacher, funded by the school's PTA. She taught many of her students in private lessons and became a full-time teacher at the school more than 10 years ago. She retired last year, according to Sasaki.

"She's a really amazing teacher because she makes such a special bond with all of her students," said former student Veronica Jordan. "She's one of the main reasons I was able to break out of my shell... and I really hope all of you will remember the amazing person that she was."

Nina Senn, OUSD Board of Education Director for District 4, said in the release that "Children know when a teacher loves them and Miss Wanda loved every single one of her students."