Citadel accepting nominations for annual Heart of Learning Award

EXTON — For the past 18 years, Citadel has recognized Chester County teachers for the difference they make in students’ lives — with its Heart of Learning Award program.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 19th annual Citadel Heart of Learning Award program. Any teacher at a public or private school in Chester County is eligible to receive the award. Nominations will be accepted through Dec. 31, and can be submitted at

Each year, more than 2,000 nominations are submitted from students, parents, school administrators, colleagues and community members.

Last year, 2,300 nominations were submitted on behalf of 1,200 teachers in the county.

To date, more than $216,000 has been given to local educators, and more than 270 teachers have been honored with the award, according to a press release.

Created jointly in 2001 by Citadel and the Chester County Intermediate Unit, the program recognizes Chester County teachers that show dedication both in and out of the classroom. George Fiore, the new executive director of the Chester County Intermediate Unit, will serve as co-chair of the program with Michael Schnably, Citadel senior vice president.

“In so many ways, teachers are unsung superheroes, and Citadel is proud to give them the honor they deserve,” Schnably said in a press release. “We are thrilled to have the Chester County Intermediate Unit as our partner to celebrate the deserving educators in this community.”

Nominations for the Heart of Learning Award are divided by district, and the top 3 to 5 per district selected, before moving on to the selection committee. The selection committee then decides on the district and grand prize winners, according to a Citadel spokeswoman.

The district winners include 15 finalists — one from each of the 13 public school districts in Chester County, one from the Chester County Intermediate Unit and one from a Chester County non-public school, which includes charter and home schools.

All of the finalists receive $500 to use in their classroom and will be honored at the Citadel Heart of Learning Awards banquet in May, where three grand prize winners will be announced — one high school, one middle school and one elementary school teacher. Each winner receives an additional $1,500 to use in their classroom.

The grand prize winners for 2019 were: Carynne Burnett of Oxford Area High School, Jeffra Leo of Kennett Middle School and Dave Lichter of Pocopson Elementary.

In addition to the teaching excellence award, the top three schools that submit the most nominations receive the Schools with Heart award from Citadel. Schools with Heart awards three cash prizes — first place, $1500; second place, $750; and third place, $500 — for the schools to support assemblies or events.

For more information, nomination rules, and to submit teacher nominations, visit

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