Rita M. McDonald is a certified child development associate, early childhood educator, and the director of Smart from the Start Child Care. Ms. McDonald celebrates more than three decades in the field of childcare, both as an administrator and as a provider. She joined Smart from the Start in 2008 as a teacher, quickly rising to her current role as director of the facility. As director, she is responsible for ensuring that the center continues to provide the highest-quality child care and oversees administrative duties from hiring to payroll.
Ms. McDonald credits her success to her ability to connect with both parents and children, and foster strong school communities that help foster student development. She is passionate about providing a safe, welcoming, and consistent environment for young children, and considers childcare and preschool fundamental to setting children up to succeed in K-12 education. While Ms. McDonald has spent her entire career in childcare, she is committed to continuing to learn and grow in order to provide the best for her students and staff. As a part of her commitment to growth, she graduated with honors from Delaware County Community College with an Associate of Science in early childhood education in 2020, earning her degree at the age of 56. Ms. McDonald considers finishing college to be the highlight of her career, and she has plans to return to school to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the coming years.
In addition to her work at Smart from the Start, Ms. McDonald is active in community initiatives and volunteers at her local church. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children as well as the organization’s Pennsylvania state chapter, and is committed to advocating for early childhood education and networking with other teachers and childcare providers. Ms. McDonald remains energized and excited about the opportunities that she and her staff provide to children and their families, and plans to continue her work for as long as she is able to.