Vicki McDonald, new second- and third-grade Idyllwild School teacher. Photo by Careena Chase

Idyllwild native Vicki McDonald, daughter of Trudy Twardowski, feels it is weird to be commuting up the Hill from the Hemet area where she now lives to her original hometown. But she is very happy to be teaching at Idyllwild School and especially glad for the support of Idyllwild parents and the PTA.

“The PTA is so involved [at Idyllwild School],” she said enthusiastically. She pointed out an easel in the well-ordered and attractive classroom in which she teaches a second- and third-grade combo class. “We used to have to buy those on our own [at another elementary school in the Hemet Unified School District at which she taught previously],” she noted. “Here the PTA supplies it. The parents and the community in Idyllwild are so supportive and that makes a tremendous difference.”

As have other teachers new to Idyllwild School, McDonald also noted how important the smARTS program is to the life of the school. “It is so unique and so valuable,” she said.

McDonald, who graduated from Cal State University San Bernardino with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and from National University in Redlands with a masters in education technology, spent 12 years in the banking profession.

Prior to coming to Idyllwild School, McDonald taught for 10 years at Little Lake Elementary in Hemet. “I had wanted to be a teacher since I was little,” she said. “I just love kids and that is where my heart is. For me the high point in teaching is seeing when the lights go on in their heads.”

McDonald is married with two children.