About the TCLA Enrichment Center

About TCLA

TCLA Enrichment Center was founded by Virginia McDonald in 2010. After teaching gifted and talented students for 27 years, she realized the importance of exposing all motivated children to the kinds of critical and creative thinking skills that were integral to her teaching strategies and methods as a teacher of G & T. Ms. McDonald spent several years developing and writing curriculum for TCLA students from kindergarten to high school. These lessons focus on literacy, problem solving, narrative and expository writing, vocabulary development and grammar instruction.

Students meet once a week in small groups for an hour. At the beginning of every class, a warm up activity involving problem solving or logical thinking is offered. After homework is reviewed, a new lesson is introduced. Short stories, both fiction and nonfiction, have been carefully selected to develop the larger theme. A writing assignment that dovetails with the story is assigned weekly.

Three ten-week sessions are offered throughout the school year: fall, winter and spring. A six-week summer program is also available.

Ms. McDonald and her staff enthusiastically teach her original curriculum and are enormously pleased with the positive results of teaching higher level thinking skills to all students.

Please email enrichment@turtlecreekacademy.com with any questions regarding our enrichment programs.  

Meet Our Teachers:

Virginia McDonald

Virginia McDonald, the founder of TCLA, has been a teacher of gifted and talented students for over 35 years and is passionate about helping children develop critical and creative thinking skills. She has created innovative and stimulating curricula to help bright students achieve to their maximum potential.

During her career in public school, Ms. McDonald won the Monmouth County Superintendent’s Teacher Recognition Award. In recognition of her outstanding work and meritorious service at Marlboro Elementary School as the teacher of the gifted and talented, Mrs. McDonald was bestowed this honor by the New Jersey State Assembly.

Ms. McDonald is the founder and owner of Turtle Creek Learning Academy, a private preschool located in Marlboro, New Jersey. Founded in 1998, she brings the same devotion, passion, and commitment to children at TCLA as she does to her enrichment classes.

Deborah Lamoot

Deborah Lamoot is the Director of the TCLA Enrichment Program.  With 27 years of teaching experience, Deb brings a wealth of knowledge and background to the program.  Currently a teacher/library media specialist at Marlboro Elementary School, Deb has deep ties to the community and welcomes an opportunity to shape its young minds. 

Currently, Deb has her Masters plus 30 credits with a BA from The College of New Jersey and a Master’s from Georgian Court College.  Deb lives in South Brunswick with her husband and two twin daughters and their dog Rugby.

Jennifer Blume

Jennifer Blume lives in Old Bridge with her two teenage sons. She is heavily involved in the sports programs in Old Bridge as well as a member of the PTA board at our middle school. Mrs. Blume works in West Orange where she has been a middle school Language Arts teacher for the last 23 years. Despite her commute, she loves her job!

Mrs. Blume speaks fondly about teaching her students about the wonderful world of reading and writing. Her favorite parts of teaching are when she inspires her students to read by sharing a favorite book and seeing the look of pride in their faces when they complete a piece of writing. She enjoys working with students and other teachers in all facets of school life from running the student council to being team leader for my colleagues.

Lynn Krachie

Lynn Krachie, our pre-kindergarten teacher, has the most longevity at TCLA, over twenty years. She teaches the youngest grades at the enrichment center: kindergarten, first and second grades. She fully embodies the energetic and artful spirit of being a highly qualified teacher.

In 1999, Mrs. Krachie received her master of education degree from Rutgers. She makes such an impression on all of the students that she teaches that they come back year after year to tell her what a difference she made in their lives. She gives children great confidence and a deep and genuine love for school that will carry them forever.

Michele Gorcica

Michele Gorcica currently teaches fourth grade in the Montclair Public School District.  Having spent the last eleven years employed in Montclair, Michele has also taught both second and third grades as well.  Holding a Master’s Degree plus 30 credits with a focus on teaching and learning, Michele has been a teacher for over 27 years and enjoys each year more than the last.  At TCLA Enrichment, Michele is responsible for working with our fourth and fifth grade classes.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her two boys, reading, and experiencing new adventures. 

Have Any Questions?

We would love to hear from you! Send us a message and we will gladly answer any questions you may have about the best preschool and enrichment center in Marlboro.

-Virginia McDonald
Owner / Director

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