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Gary Schmaltz, TCHS Pennock's Bridge Carpentry Instructor, Named Finalist for Citadel Heart of Learning Award

For the past 22 years, Citadel Credit Union has partnered with the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) to recognize hard-working teachers who are dedicated to their role and classroom by honoring them with the Citadel Heart of Learning Award. The award is open to any public, private or charter school teacher and nominations are accepted from students, parents, administrators, peers and community members.  

This year, Citadel recognized a total of 31 finalists from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties. Out of the thousands of nominations received, Gary Schmaltz, carpentry teacher at the CCIU’s Technical College High School (TCHS) Pennock’s Bridge Campus, is one of the outstanding educators selected as a finalist for the 2023 Citadel Heart of Learning Award. 

When asked about being selected as a finalist, Schmaltz said, “Receiving the Citadel award is a definite highlight. Working hard and putting in time is easy. The extra things that you do for students are the things that require additional effort and care, and those are the things that you never really expect to get recognized for.” Schmaltz continued, “I would have to say I was a bit surprised when I received the award. You're always so focused on the immediate needs of students that you tend to forget about what you have already done. As much as I would like to take all of the credit, I have to admit, I am just trying to be like all of the amazing teachers that I work with." 

Schmaltz has been teaching at TCHS Pennock’s Bridge for 15 years. “I love working with students. When I ran a construction business, I always enjoyed working with my employees to help them better themselves. It's the same for my students. Seeing them develop into confident, skilled individuals is one of the most rewarding things a person can witness,” Schmaltz said. 

According to Ron Wilson, principal of TCHS Pennock’s Bridge, “Mr. Schmaltz is one of the most dedicated teachers I know. He believes in his students and when it comes time to help them or a fellow colleague, or if he’s asked to work on a community service project, Gary is always willing to help. I cannot think of a more deserving individual to be recognized with the Citadel Heart of Learning Award.” 

Dr. Joe Fullerton, CCIU director of career, technical & customized education, echoed Wilson’s words, adding, "The Citadel Heart of Learning Award is such a prestigious award to recognize the abilities of educators. Gary Schmaltz is the epitome of what an educator should be. He is dedicated to the success of his students and cares deeply about them as people. He is a fantastic educator and an even better person." 

Three grand prize winners were selected from the 31 finalists – William Langhorn, teacher from Avon Grove High School in Chester County; Tanya Prickitt, teacher from Colonial Middle School in Montgomery County; and Annie Marie Hunton, teacher from Herbert Hoover Elementary School in Bucks County. The grand prize winners each received $5,000 for themselves and $5,000 for their school. The other 28 finalists each received $1,000 to spend on classroom supplies.