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Education Alumni Profiles

Nicky Turk '14 and Aleah Tarnoviski '12

On a recent trip to New York City, Dr. Priscilla Nelson was able to catch up with Gordon alums Nicky Turk ’14 (left) and Aleah Tarnoviski ’12, who teach at Success Academy Bronx 2. Nicky, who is in her second year there, is a Grade 2 lead teacher; she taught kindergarten last year. Finishing up her fourth year, Aleah is the Grade 1 lead teacher and grade team leader. These women are making a difference in the Bronx!

Aleah shared a glimpse of what it's like to be a faculty member at SA:

"At Success you are not just a classroom teacher; you are a school teacher… At our school, each teacher takes responsibility for the education and raising of every child in our building, from kindergarten until they graduate from fourth grade.This has created a community at our school where every child knows that every adult believes in them and wants the best for them. This looks like kindergarten teachers stopping third graders in the hallway to check up on their progress in ELA, and fourth grade teachers popping into first grade read-alouds to listen in on whole group discussions. This ideal also impacts teacher practice—at Bronx 2 you’ll find classroom doors open to any and all visitors, promoting community, transparency and sharing amongst teachers.

“I couldn’t imagine teaching anywhere else in New York City! Success Academy is changing the way we think about education, not only in urban areas, but nationwide. It is incredibly exciting to be a part of a network that not only educates 11,000+ kids at a world-class level every single day, but also fights to ensure that all kids gain access to the high-quality education they deserve. We fight for all kids, and that is something I’ll always believe in. The advocacy and social justice aspects of my job make my work as a teacher even more meaningful."

And yes, they plan to return next year.

 Emily (Wilson) Heckelmann '15

"I graduated from Gordon in May 2015, and am currently enjoying my own Preschool classroom at Cherry Hills Christian School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. I am surrounded by wonderful Christian teachers and three- and four-year-olds who are helping me grow as a teacher. Although I am in the middle of my first year teaching, I have felt so well prepared by the Education Department at Gordon. Those education classes and experiences in the classrooms enabled me to have a well-rounded understanding of child development, teaching, classroom management, school/family relationships and much more. Through my student teaching, I gained my confidence in the classroom as a teacher. And through it all, the professors encouraged me and taught me about education, but also about living life as a follower of Christ. I am so thankful for my experience with the Gordon Education Department and how well they prepared me to go out and teach."