Citadel Announces District Winners For The 2017 Citadel Heart Of Learning Award

Three Grand Prize Winners to be Announced at Banquet Tomorrow

EXTON, PA —More than a dozen Chester County teachers were recently in for an emotional surprise. Throughout the past two months, representatives from Citadel went to 15 schools in Chester County and presented unsuspecting teachers with the Citadel Heart of Learning Award for their district. These 15 teachers are the finalists in the overall Citadel Heart of Learning program – each has won $500 to use in the classroom. Tomorrow night, surrounded by family, friends, and district administrators, they will all be honored at Citadel’s banquet and will find out if they’re one of three grand prize winners. 

2017 marks the 16th 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 2,200 nominations for more than 1,100 teachers.  

“I was completely shocked to be a winner of the Citadel Heart of Learning Award. When the kids walked in with the camera crew, I was completely caught off-guard, but was so touched to have been nominated,” said Carrie Mitton, East Vincent Elementary teacher and winner for the Owen J. Roberts district.  “The memories the kids shared and their words of gratitude warmed my heart more than I could ever express. They were sincerely excited for me to receive the nomination, and I’ll certainly cherish sharing that moment with them forever.”
The district winners for the 2017 Citadel Heart of Learning Award include:


Jerry Nowak
Downingtown Area School District
Downingtown High School West

Larry Golonka
Chester County Intermediate Unit
TCHS Pennocks Bridge Campus

Seth McNaughton
Phoenixville Area School District
Phoenixville Area High School


Chad Sindaco
Great Valley School District
Great Valley Middle School 

Cindy Diffendall
West Chester Area School District
E. N. Peirce Middle School

Khara Flint
Tredyffrin/Easttown School District
T/E Middle School

Laura Pillard
Octorara Area School District
Octorara Junior High School

Murray Kramer
Non-Public/Charter Schools
The Vanguard School

Sarah Glah
Coatesville Area School District
Scott Middle School


Carol Petersen
Twin Valley School District
Twin Valley Elementary Center

Carrie Mitton
Owen J. Roberts School District
East Vincent Elementary

Helena Lynch

Avon Grove School District
Avon Grove Intermediate School

Jeri Ramagnano

Kennett Consolidated School District
Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center

Kimberly Blando
Oxford Area School District
Nottingham Elementary

Megan Bakes
Unionville-Chadds Ford School District
Pocopson Elementary

The 15 teachers were presented their district award from Citadel in a variety of ways; in the classroom surrounded by students, during all-school assemblies, and at faculty meetings. The heartfelt nominations for the teachers – submitted by students, parents, community members, and colleagues – were read aloud during the surprise presentations.
“We’re looking forward to honoring all of these unbelievably dedicated teachers at the 16th annual Citadel Heart of Learning Award banquet on Tuesday,” said Mike Schnably, Senior Vice President, Citadel. “Each year it’s an extremely special evening and celebration. We are honored to recognize these educators who are important members of the Chester County community.”

Three grand prize winners – one from an elementary, middle, and high school – will win an additional $1,500 to use in their classroom and are announced during the banquet. The Citadel Heart of Learning banquet is Tuesday, May 9 at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center.