Citadel Announces 2019 Heart of Learning Award Winners

citadel heart of learning

The Grand Prize winners of the 2019 Citadel Heart of Learning Award; (L-R) Carynne Burnett, Dave Lichter, and Jeffra Leo.

EXTON, Pa. — This spring, more than a dozen Chester County teachers were surprised at their school; each receiving the 2019 Citadel Heart of Learning Award.

Representatives from Citadel went to 15 schools and presented unsuspecting teachers with the Citadel Heart of Learning Award for their school district. These 15 teachers are their District Winners in the overall award program—each has won $500 to use in the classroom.

On Tuesday, May 7 at Citadel’s banquet—surrounded by family, friends, and their district superintendents and administrators—the teachers were honored, and three teachers were named the Grand Prize winners—one from an elementary, middle, and high school. The Grand Prize winners receive an additional $1,500 to use in their classroom.

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

“After learning about our winners and visiting with many of you, I believe tonight—more so than any other year—we are celebrating 15 of the area’s most inspirational heroes,” said Michael Schnably, senior vice president, Citadel. “I was struck with how you care about your students as individuals with specific needs and capabilities. It appears that you do everything you can, every single day to help your students reach their potential.”

This year marks the 18th annual Citadel Heart of Learning Award program, established by Citadel and the Chester County Intermediate Unit to honor, recognize, and thank outstanding teachers in Chester County. This year, Citadel received more than 2,300 nominations for more than 1,200 teachers.

The District Winners for the 2019 Citadel Heart of Learning Award include:


Pocopson Elementary

Licther, who has taught for 28 years and is retiring after the 2018-19 academic year, advises other teachers, “Unless you're ready to work your butt off, this profession isn't for you. On top of that, you must always keep the children in your class as your main focus.”

Brittany Wolfe
Penn London Elementary

Anne Lewis
Bradford Heights Elementary

Anne McCrory
Sugartown Elementary

Cailtlin Sullivan
Collegium Charter School

Amanda DiPasqua
East Vincent Elementary

Michele Murtaugh
Honey Brook Elementary Center


Kennett Middle School

Jeffra, now teaching for 22 years, pushes her students to do their best. “Teaching is not about money, it is not about recognition,” says Jeffra, “it is about making the future just a little bit better one child at a time.”

Claarissa Gamber
Scott Middle School

Bill McCauley
Fugett Middle School


Carynne Burnett – GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Oxford Area High School

Carynne says, “Thinking about the past 15 years is like viewing a ‘highlight reel’ of wonderful moments, rather than one moment that emerges as more memorable than the rest.”

Diana Kowalski
Brandywine Virtual Academy

Jed King
Octorara Area High School

Justin Winters
Phoenixville Area High School

Danielle Sculley
Conestoga High School

The heartfelt nominations for these 15 teachers were submitted by students, parents, school administrators, community members, and colleagues.

Abigail Brooks
(610) 466-6896 

About Citadel Credit Union

Citadel Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution that provides banking, investments, and insurance services to more than 260,000 members. At $5.9 billion in assets, it is one of the Greater Philadelphia area’s largest credit unions, proudly serving residents of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. Citadel is recognized as a Forbes 2022 Best-in-State Credit Union, a 2023 Faces of Philanthropy Award recipient from the Philadelphia Business Journal, and a certified 2023 Great Place to Work. For more information, visit

Learn more about the Citadel Heart of Learning Award program.

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