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Jessica Jakatt named the CCIU’s Citadel Heart of Learning finalist

Coatesville, PA – Traditionally, when we think of heroes, those that come to mind fly around in capes, defeat supervillains and save entire cities from destruction. These comic book heroes are fun and inspiring, but as our current situation has undoubtedly shown, the real-life heroes of today are the ones putting on medical scrubs, working at the grocery store and teaching our children day after day, regardless of any personal and professional challenges. This year, more than ever, Citadel, in partnership with the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), celebrate all of our hard-working heroes for not only making futures brighter for their students but for being flexible and dedicated to overcoming the many challenges they've faced.

The CCIU is proud to announce Jessica Jakatt, an emotional support teacher at the CCIU Learning Center, as one of 15 outstanding Chester County educators selected as a finalist in the 2021 Citadel Heart of Learning Awards. This year, over 1,400 nominations were submitted for more than 1,100 teachers.

“I've never really envisioned being nominated for this award, so to be recognized as a finalist is so humbling to me,” said Jakatt, who is celebrating her twelfth year in the classroom. “I work alongside many dedicated educators at the CCIU, and I am flattered to be recognized for this achievement.”

Jakatt started her career teaching English and language arts and then moved into special education. She has spent the past two years working at the CCIU Learning Center in Coatesville.

“Jess is an outstanding educator who is passionate about helping students succeed,” said Dr. Chamise S. Taylor, principal of the CCIU Learning Center. “Despite the multitude of challenges that we all faced during this unprecedented pandemic, Jess never once complained and always asked what more she could do to help.” 

“Jess is the ultimate team player who is actively engaged in all aspects of the CCIU Learning Center community,” said Sam Ewing, CCIU director of student services. “Her student-centered approach to learning has helped keep her students engaged and connected despite the challenges of the pandemic. One of Jessica's greatest strengths is her ability to cultivate relationships with her students, which has helped build a classroom environment where they feel comfortable taking risks to enhance their learning.”

The Citadel Heart of Learning Award, which is a collaboration between Citadel and the CCIU, is designed to recognize and thank teachers in Chester County. New to 2021, teachers from surrounding counties including Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, Lancaster and Philadelphia will be honored as well. It raises awareness of the impact that their hard work and dedication have on their students, the students’ families and on the entire community. Since its inception, thousands of teachers have been nominated and hundreds have been named finalists.

According to Jakatt, one of her main goals is to establish a community within the classroom. “Setting a positive tone in our environment is the key to our successes. Developing a safe, respectful place for students and staff has always been a priority in my classroom,” she explained. 

Each finalist receives $500 to use in his or her classroom. From the finalists, the three Chester County grand prize winners (one high school, one middle school and one elementary school teacher) will be awarded with the Citadel Heart of Learning Award and an additional $2,000. 

Group photo with Citadel finalist Jess Jakatt

Pictured left to right is Sam Ewing, CCIU director of student services; Dr. Steve Gerhard, CCIU assistant executive director; Hunter Blouch, Citadel; Melissa Thompson, Citadel; Jessica Jakatt, Citadel Heart of Learning finalist; Dr. Chamise Taylor, CCIU Learning Center principal; and Dr. George F. Fiore, CCIU executive director. 

Ashley Boyd
ashleyb@cciu.org
484-237-5338