Gather and Grow: Honoring Supriya McDonald

Supriya McDonald, a teacher, administrator and head of school at Mount Madonna School (MMS) who retired in June 2020 after more than 30 years of service, was honored in-person on October 20, for her dedication and service to the school community with the installation of a sign mounted on the exterior of the lower campus bus stop. The ceremony was attended by MMS faculty, staff, administration, trustees and board members, members of McDonald’s family and some of her MMC friends and neighbors.

“Though Supriya stepped down from her skilled and loving leadership of MMS at the end of the 2019-20 school year, her presence is still palpable in so much of what we do,” commented Dean of Students Bob Caplan. “In particular, her daily practice of greeting students, families and faculty at the lower school bus stop is fresh in our hearts. To honor her unflagging commitment, the bus stop has been designated ‘Supriya’s Gather and Grow Bus Stop,’ and we have installed a sign to make that visible to all who pass by it.”

The sign was designed by MMS art teacher Angela Willetts, with inspiration from Caplan, and includes the words “Gather and Grow” and sturdy redwood trees representative of students and iconic of the campus environment with their roots branching out into the broader community.

“During the 2020 virtual end-of-the-year school gatherings, we took time to honor Supriya’s retirement and all the years she contributed to our school and shared with her the rendering of the bus stop design,” commented Director of Lower School Kami Pacheco. “A year and a half later, it has finally come to fruition. COVID may have delayed us, but it didn’t stop us from honoring our cherished former head of school and life-long Mount Madonna School educator.”

“It warmed my heart to be surrounded by colleagues, friends and family at one of my favorite campus locations, the bus stop,” commented McDonald following the ceremony. “Gathering at this spot, where so many preschool circles take place, following a year of isolation was especially meaningful. I love the sign! Its artwork and message of ‘gather and grow’ is brilliant!

“For many years,” she continued, “seeing the children’s smiling faces as they arrived each morning eager to learn and happy to be at school, helped to inspire and prepare me for the significant responsibility of running the school. That – and a cup of chai – were all I needed!”

Read more about Supriya McDonald’s service to Mount Madonna School: Leadership, Integrity and Day-to-Day Kindness


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 375 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a diverse learning community dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.

Upcoming Events: