Tara (Monteleone) McGinn is a Pine Crest School alumna from the Class of 1988 and parent to three Panthers: Megan ’20, Ashlyn ’22, and Caitlin ’25.
Beginning her Pine Crest career as a freshman in the Upper School, she returned when her oldest daughter was ready for pre-kindergarten.
Ever since, she has taken on a variety of volunteer roles with the Lower School Family Association (LSFA), Middle and Upper School Family Association (MUSPA), and the Founder’s Council. Now she has officially joined the Admission Office to assist prospective families when they visit campus.
The Magazine (TM): You have held many volunteer positions at Pine Crest? Which has been your favorite?
Tara (TMG): Being the president of the Lower School Family Association (LSFA). It was the most work, but the most fun. I got to work with teachers and families, and I was blessed with amazing committee chairs and executive team. We were able to get a lot done.
TM: Describe your role with Admission? What do you love about working with prospective families?
TMG: I am “Tour Guide Tara!” Touring prospective families makes you appreciate Pine Crest every single day. You get to show off the best parts of the School, and I realize how grateful I am that my children are here doing all the things I get to show off. It is so easy to talk to families about life on campus.
TM: What is the most common question you receive? How do you answer it?
TMG: “Are the kids who come here happy?” It is really easy to answer that. I love taking them to classrooms so they can see that the kids are happy. It doesn’t matter what grade we walk in to, the kids are happy. Families love seeing the Upper School students in the quad, playing with a frisbee, or just hanging out on the lawn.
TM: What made you decide to send your children to Pine Crest?
TMG: Starting Pine Crest as a freshman, I felt that the people I went to school with had an edge on how to study, learn, how to do projects, and time management that I hadn’t been taught in my previous schools. The opportunities that they would be exposed to, the other students, the teachers, and the environment here - it’s just what you want for your children.
TM: How have your children’s experiences at Pine Crest been different than yours?
TMG: Each of my children is very different, and they are all very different than me. The way they have been taught and the way they approach problems is amazing. That is the one thing they all have in common. We did an escape room with my parents, and they were amazed by how the girls found clues together, and how they problem-solved. I just took that for granted.
TM: How have their experiences been the same as yours?
TMG: They have made amazing friends. They have connections with their teachers, and they love the School as much as I do. I know they'll be friends with their friends forever.
TM: What has changed the most since you were a student?
TMG: It's not so much that the School has changed, but the times have changed. I would say the students have access to even more than we had.
TM: What is still the same?
TMG: The way the teachers care about students. I hear it in their voices and in the way they talk about their students. I saw a Middle School teacher at a game, sitting in the rain with an umbrella, and I asked her why she was there. She said, “these are my kids.”
My teachers taught me so much. I see they have that same connection.
TM: What would you like your fellow alumni to know about Pine Crest?
TMG: They should come back, see it, move back, and send their children here! I feel extremely blessed to send my children here, and that fact that I went here is an added bonus.
TM: Who is a teacher that most impacted you as a student?
TMG: That is hard. I think of Mr. Palmaccio and Mr. Harrington. Mr. Harrington was always even-keeled, students respected him. He “got” us. He didn't try to be our friend, but he was a good role model and a great person.