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Three Iona College Alumnae Recognized for Excellence in Teaching

Alumni Success, Service

Gina Tomaj with her students on a bench outside at a farm.

Gina Tomaj ’16, a first-grade teacher in an integrated co-teaching classroom, with students from SA Harlem 6. (Photo taken last year prior to COVID-19.)

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Three Iona College alumnae have been recognized for their exceptional talent and commitment as teachers. Chloe Walker ’16, Gabrielle Fox ’15, and Gina Tomaj ’16 were named 2020 Success Academy Excellence Award winners in recognition of their outstanding work to help close the opportunity gap in some of New York’s most underserved neighborhoods.

Gabrielle Fox ’15 is a kindergarten lead teacher at SA Far Rockaway. She won an Excellence Award for Growth, which recognizes educators who have exhibited the most significant progress in achieving excellence. Fox majored in Speech Language Pathology and credits her success to her Iona professors. “I had so many professors who helped me fall in love with education,” she said. “I can think of many who supported me and showed me how I can better the lives of children. I’m so grateful for my time at Iona.”

Chloe Walker ’16 is a first-grade teacher in an integrated co-teaching classroom at SA Bronx 4, where at least one-third of her students receive special education services. Walker won an Excellence Award for ETHOS, which recognizes school staff members who exemplify SA’s values of Excellence, Teamwork, Humor, Ownership, and always putting Scholars first.

As a Childhood Education major at Iona College, Walker credits the real-world, professional experience she gained for her success. “Iona’s education program gave me so much valuable experience in the classroom,” she said. “During my student teaching, I was partnered with a teacher who I learned so much from.”

Gina Tomaj ’16 is first-grade teacher in an integrated co-teaching classroom at SA Harlem 6. She won the Excellence Award for Rookie of the Year, which recognizes first-year teachers who have embraced the challenge of teaching and demonstrated significant growth in their practice. Tomaj majored in Economics, saying that “economics at Iona helped me strengthen my ability to analyze, which has been so helpful for studying assessments and strategically planning. I was also allowed the flexibility of including psychology courses in my major, which improved my understanding of the human mind and human behavior. I know that many SA teachers have majors outside of Education, and I love that those with other professional backgrounds can use their skills to be amazing teachers.”

Founded in 1940, Iona College is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre campus is just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of over 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, a prestigious recognition awarded to just five percent of business schools worldwide. The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2020.” Iona College also recently launched a new, fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility.