One-on-One: Mr. Petrelli

He’s a favorite among both students and his fellow faculty members. Today we’re talking to Mr. David Petrelli, finding out a bit more about this seventh grade teacher who is known to lend his impressive vocal talents to things like … Egg Russian Roulette! Without further ado, Mr. Petrelli!


Are you from Nashville, and if not, where are you from and how did you arrive here?

​I was born and raised in Wethersfield, CT, a suburb of Hartford. I attended Boston College and decided to stay in Boston after graduation, where I played in bands and got a job teaching music at a local catholic elementary school. After a few years I went back to school and earned a degree in songwriting and vocal performance from Berklee College of Music. Never in a million years did I think Nashville would be a destination for me, but on a whim I joined a spring break trip sponsored by the Berklee Songwriting Department to tour Nashville and attend workshops for a week. It changed my life. Up until that point I was convinced I was headed to Los Angeles upon graduation. But the exposure to the community of songwriters and lifestyle really drew me to Nashville. Ultimately, I was offered a position at a publishing company on Music Row and made the move from Boston in 2005.

Tell us about your family — human, furry or otherwise.

I have a small Italian family, which is not a phrase you hear often. Both my parents have unfortunately passed away (my mother when I was 10, my father a month before I got married).  In no small part because of this, my older sister and I are very close. She still lives in my hometown and has three ridiculously cute kids (two boys and a girl), who Uncle David loves to spoil whenever I see them.

I met my wife Victoria in 2008. She is the rock star of the family, an incredibly talented professional singer/songwriter. We were married in a Rockwell-esque October New England wedding in 2011, and my life hasn’t been the same since. Just this past June, we adopted our first baby girl, Alexa Dianora Petrelli. The road to adoption is one I never imagined taking, but it has been the most incredible, wonderful, intense, uncomfortable and amazingly beautiful experience. She is definitely a keeper. And rounding out the Petrelli clan is our Shepherd-mix rescue mutt, Sammy Davis Jr., Jr.

​How long have you been teaching and what made you want to be a teacher?

This is just my second year as a general education teacher. When my wife and I decided to adopt, we thought it might be a good idea for one of us to have small, inconsequential things like, say, insurance or an actual salary. Teaching is always something I’d been drawn to, even outside of a classroom. Life is just more fun at the kids’ table. But more than just relating to students, being a teacher constantly reminds me that being a student doesn’t end when you stop going to school. The thirst for learning is something that should remain a part of all of us throughout our lives, and that’s something I try to instill in my classes.

​Tell us about the most memorable student you’ve ever had.

​I am constantly impressed and amazed by the students I teach. Just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they do or say something that blows you away. I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me. I don’t think I’ve been teaching long enough to have one student stand out as the most memorable, but I can say that every student is certainly unforgettable.

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be doing?

I would probably still be writing and performing music. But if I had to pick a completely different profession, I may have been a psychologist or social worker.

How do you enjoy spending your free time?

​I love playing music any chance I get and watching Red Sox baseball. Cooking is also a big part of my life. But presently, what I enjoy more than anything else is being with my family … and watching my daughter’s cheeks grow five times faster than the rest of her body.

What is your #1 goal for your students this year?

​I’d like each of my students to look back when this year is done and realize that they were able to reach beyond their comfort zone to accomplish something that may have seemed unattainable in August. Whether that goal is grade-related or not doesn’t really matter. Seventh grade is such an adjustment-filled, transitional year, and we have such a wonderfully eclectic group of students. There are so many opportunities for self-growth when a young student can learn to look at situations from multiple perspectives and challenge himself/herself to work a little bit harder than they might be used to. The lessons we learn from doing that extend well beyond the classroom and last much longer than middle school.
Want to get in touch with Mr. Petrelli? That’s easy! Email him at