Fond Farewells and Warm Welcomes

At the end of each school year, we express our sincere gratitude to those teachers and staff who have decided to leave Mount Madonna School (MMS).

Michelle Fisher

Our preschool/kindergarten teacher, Michelle Fisher, is moving to Santa Barbara to be closer to her family and enjoy her first grandchild, born in April. Michelle’s positive spirit and caring nature have given so much to our youngest students this year. We wish her a smooth transition and thank her so much for her year of service to MMS.



Dr. Tiffany Wayne

Tiffany Wayne began teaching our social studies and humanities classes in 2014. Her experience and vast knowledge as a college professor and historian gifted MMS students with six years of quality learning experiences. Tiffany’s dedication to her students and skill at making history come alive was made visible in a variety of projects that reflects her personal passion for the subject. Tiffany led our Model United Nations program and hosted election night parties, alongside many learning projects that were displayed around campus. Tiffany and teacher Chrislaine Miller have worked closely together to develop the learning journey Boston trip for eighth graders. In addition to her many contributions to MMS, Tiffany designed and taught a course on women’s history. Tiffany is an alumni parent (Miles ’16 and Lillian, ‘19), and though she will be missed by all, we are confident that Tiffany will stay connected with MMS. Perhaps she will return as a guest lecturer after she publishes her next book. We wish her great success as she returns to her work as an author and historian.

Sidd McDonald

Sidd McDonald (Kai Ramesh, ’99 and PK, ’04) joined MMS 17 years ago, first as an athletic director and coach, and shortly after, as a mathematics teacher. Sidd’s commitment to building a quality three-season sports program yielded the results we have today. Two State and NORCAL championships, with many CCS titles and league championships in our premier volleyball program. With the addition of the new gym, we now offer basketball and wrestling, with track and field and cross-country. Dedicated athletic directors, coaches and parents are building these sports, but Sidd outlined this plan to the CCS commission years ago, qualifying MMS to be full members of the Central Coast Section. As a retired electrical engineer, Sidd has used his knowledge and skills to make math accessible and relevant for many students. His persistent style and encouragement blends humor and discipline. We thank Sidd for the many weekends and evenings he devoted to students, helping them both on and off the court. We wish him many great journeys in his truck camper in the coming years.

We offer a warm welcome to our incoming teachers for the fall.

Dr. Dan Gurska

We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Dan Gurska will be joining the MMS community. Dan is a passionate educator with experience teaching at both the high school and college level. His former colleagues have described him as a person great at fostering community, committed to social justice, and capable of inspiring a high level of thinking in the classroom. Dan impressed the hiring committee with his intellect and commitment to teaching history and English in an inclusive and socially responsible manner. His experience with differentiation, curriculum development, and with project-based learning make Dan a perfect match for the MMS high school program. Dan and Tiffany are already meeting regularly and Tiffany is sharing her many resources with Dan, which will make for a smooth transition next fall. We will schedule time to meet Dan either in person or via Zoom in August.

Jen Riva

Jen is joining Hema Walker in leading our preschool students as they venture into their first years of school. Jen completed her college studies in both textile design and early childhood education in the UK. She received a postgraduate certificate in ‘Creating Compassionate Cultures’ and completed a Montessori certification program and her preschool director’s license. Jen is passionate about working with young children and guiding them using the Montessori methods. She has worked in early childhood Montessori schools over the past 15 years and previously worked in the UK with 11 to 18-year-olds for three years. She is also a parent to three sons from elementary to college. Jen believes that all children want success and have an innate love of learning. Hema and Kami are delighted that Jen will join them and look forward to having Jen share her knowledge, expertise and warm heart with MMS.