Marla is an accomplished performing artist, a graduate of Indiana University School of Music and the Philadelphia Academy of Vocal Arts. Currently, she is an Adjunct Professor at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield and an ESL Adjunct Instructor at Norwalk Community College. Marla brings both her experience in working with international students and talent in running a nonprofit organization to serve English language learners in the local community,
As President of the Jimmy McDaniels Foundation, Inc. since its inception in July 2009, Marla has established scholarships at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama. These scholarships benefit instrumental students studying in these schools' music programs.
Under Marla's leadership in enhancing and supporting the scholarship’s efforts, the foundation’s first step was collaborating with Music @ Miles and the Miles College collegiate chapter members of the National Association for Music Educators. Furthermore, in the fall of 2015, the foundation sponsored the first Jazz Weekend Residency with Jazz @ Miles.