More News:

May 07, 2021

21 Greater Philadelphia teachers receive Citadel Heart of Learning Award

Three grand prize winners will be announced May 20 during a live virtual ceremony on Facebook

Education Teachers

Content sponsored by Limited - Citadel Sponsorship Badge

Limited - Citadel Main Image Citadel/for PhillyVoice

The 2020 Coatesville winner Heather McBall of East Fallowfield Elementary receiving her award.

During an academic year unlike any other, Citadel Credit Union is building strength in education by honoring 21 local teachers with the Citadel Heart of Learning Award. Teachers from across Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties have been recognized after being nominated by their students, peers, parents, and administrators.

The Citadel Heart of Learning Award, one of Citadel’s longest standing initiatives, was started 20 years ago in partnership with the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), to recognize teachers who show dedication in and outside of the classroom, and truly go above and beyond in their role as educators.

Without a doubt, this year presented numerous challenges for teachers and schools everywhere. With many teachers needing to restructure entire curriculums, teach without in-person contact, and go outside their comfort zones to help students both on an academic and oftentimes personal level — the pandemic has made it especially critical to recognize their dedication.

As this week marks Teacher Appreciation Week, Citadel Credit Union is proud to announce the District and County winners for 2020-21. All 21 teachers receive a glass heart award, $500 to spend in their classrooms, and will be honored at Citadel’s live Facebook ceremony on May 20. During the ceremony, 3 Grand Prize winners will be announced, and each receives an additional $1,500 and a colorful Grand Prize glass heart.

Check out the winners:

Chester County District Winners

• Avon Grove: Stephanie Shrake, Avon Grove High School
• Coatesville: Breanna Kriston, East Fallowfield Elementary School
• Downingtown: Kathleen Cool, Uwchlan Hills Elementary School
• Great Valley: Amy Hober, K.D. Markley Elementary School
• Kennett Consolidated: Dian McKinney, Kennett Middle School
• Octorara: Robin Lewis, Octorara Intermediate School
• Owen J. Roberts: Lisa Cunningham, East Vincent Elementary School
• Oxford: Nicole Wiltrout, Oxford Area High School
• Phoenixville: Michelle Sinnamon, Manavon Elementary School
• Tredyffrin-Easttown: Allegra Dotson, New Eagle Elementary School
• Twin Valley: Elizabeth Techman, Twin Valley Elementary School
• Unionville: Lauren Owsley,Charles F. Patton Middle School
• West Chester: Frank Nefos, Fugett Middle School
• Non-Public School: Jane Brennan, St. Joseph Elementary
• CCIU: Jessica Jakatt, Chester County Learning Center

County Winners

 Montgomery County: William Norman, Norristown Area High School
• Delaware County: Andrea Brown, Ridley High School
• Lancaster County: Jerry Guttman, Manheim Township High School
• Philadelphia County: Jamie Johnson, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia School Program
• Bucks County: Elizabeth Baker, Maple Point Middle School

Traci Watson Heart Award

To continue to expand the program and recognize more teachers, Citadel has added the Traci Watson Heart Award. This is a special award created in memory of one of Citadel’s beloved colleagues who played an integral role each year in the Citadel Heart of Learning Award program. This award recognizes thoughtful creativity, inspiring good nature, and dedication to one’s craft. Citadel recognized Eli Andrus, Beaver Creek Elementary School Art Teacher with the inaugural Traci Watson Heart Award.

The Citadel Heart of Learning Awards Ceremony will take place Thursday, May 20 on from 6:30-7:00pm on Facebook. Learn more and register here. Stay tuned for the reveal of the Grand Prize winners!

To see the full list of nominees and to learn more, visit

Featured Nominations

“In a world full of uncertainty, this teacher’s support meant everything to me and my daughter,” read one nomination for Lisa Cunningham, the Citadel Heart of Learning Award winner from Owen J. Roberts School District.

“She helped all of the students immediately feel comfortable in a virtual environment, and worked hard from the get-go to establish connections among the students and set the classroom culture,” a Great Valley School District parent writes about Amy Hober of K.D. Markley Elementary School.

“Mr. Andres demonstrated what it means to be a phenomenal educator who powers through challenges with positivity, and he continues to bring much needed stability (and laughs) during these unprecedented times,” a Downingtown parent writes of art teacher Eli Andres from Beaver Creek Elementary.

“Mrs. Brown adapted to the virtual classroom like a duck in water. She spent numerous hours outside the classroom conducting virtual demos, games, and TikTok videos to keep the students in her classes engaged. She also set up Google Meets with other teachers to allow them to get a better understanding of the new virtual classroom; so that their classrooms were ready that day, regardless of grade level,” said a parent of Andrea Brown, the Delaware County winner from Ridley High School.

Learn more about the Citadel Heart of Learning Awards