Owner & Executive Director
Virginia McDonald is the Founder, Owner, and Executive Director of Turtle Creek Learning Academy. Having been a teacher of gifted and talented students in the Marlboro Township School District for twenty-seven years, Ms. McDonald founded TCLA in 1998 as an outgrowth of her master’s thesis at Kean University. After having observed many preschools in the area, she realized that most were not aligned with the latest research on how preschool children come to learn. Instead, Ms. McDonald envisioned a tight-knit, private school based on best practices in early education, and set out to make this dream a reality. To this day, she has not wavered from her vision and commitment to young learners.
With a remarkably low student-to-teacher ratio, Ms. McDonald has assembled an energetic staff of talented professionals, cultivating an ideal environment for children to learn and grow. Students graduate from Turtle Creek not only prepared academically, but with the social and emotional foundation necessary for further success.
With her own observations as proof, Ms. McDonald understood from the get-go that preschool children learn best in a playful setting. She built her curriculum accordingly, with structured activities designed to be both stimulating and developmentally appropriate. The innocent and inquisitive nature of childhood is valued and respected, with children encouraged to engage in self-selected and self-directed play. During these times, teachers have the unique opportunity to monitor students, guiding behavior and tailoring lesson plans to each child’s unique interests and pace of learning.
Ms. McDonald was the recipient of Marlboro Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year award in 2009. Passionately committed to the education of all children, she retired from the public school setting in June 2010 to devote all her time and energy to her beloved Turtle Creek. At its very heart this devoted teacher, it is Ms. McDonald’s unwavering commitment to her vision that makes TCLA so special.