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Brielle Guidone named the CCIU’s Citadel Heart of Learning finalist

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 as we transitioned to virtual learning platforms with little warning.

The CCIU is proud to announce Brielle Guidone, a speech/language therapist for the CCIU’s preschool special education program, as one of 15 outstanding educators selected as a finalist in the 2020 Citadel Heart of Learning Awards. Over 2,700 nominations were received this year in what is the equivalent of the Oscars for Chester County’s best and brightest teachers.

“I work with so many incredible people who inspire me every single day, which makes this award so special,” said Guidone, who says she practically grew up in her mother’s first grade classroom. “I'm humbled by the recognition and share the award with my supervisor, Cathy Doran, and all of my colleagues at the CCIU who make a difference every day.”

Guidone started at the CCIU in 2014 as a speech instructional assistant at the Child and Career Development Center in Coatesville. She worked as a speech instructional assistant while attending graduate school. Upon earning her master's degree in 2016, Guidone was offered a full-time speech/language therapist position at the CCIU.

“Brielle is an excellent therapist and continues to grow as a professional,” said Cathy Doran, supervisor of speech and language services. “Preschoolers love Brielle's enthusiasm, as do her colleagues. She is a lifelong learner who positively impacts students and staff on a daily basis.”

“Brielle’s focus on collaboration and student engagement inspires the entire preschool special education team and motivates her students to push harder and reach beyond their limits,” said Dr. Jacalyn Auris, CCIU director of student services. “Her teaching expands beyond the boundaries of the classroom.”

The Citadel Heart of Learning Award is a collaboration between Citadel and the Chester County Intermediate Unit, designed to recognize and thank teachers in Chester County. It raises awareness of the impact that their hard work and dedication have on their students, the student’s families and on the entire community. Since its inception, thousands of teachers have been nominated and hundreds have been named finalists.

According to Guidone, winning the award validates working together with a stellar team of people. “I feel so fortunate to work with so many different students and their families. I love my students and share in their success. It's what makes this career more than a job... it's my passion,” she explained.

Each finalist receives $500 to use in his or her classroom. From these 15 finalists, three 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 $1,500.

Ashley Boyd