South Philly resident Lozzi wins teaching prize

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A South Philly native was one of three teaching grand prize winners of the Citadel Heart of Learning Awards.

Louis Lozzi, a Pennsport resident who teaches at Paul Robeson High School for Human Services, was honored as a grand prize recipient on May 2 at the Mann Center for Performing Arts during the Citadel Heart of Learning Awards ceremony, which honored a total of 31 teachers from the Philadelphia region. 

Lozzi won a personal prize of $5,000 while earning an additional $5,000 for his school. He was the only grand prize winner from the School District of Philadelphia and was joined by Deb Rooney, Bradford Heights Elementary of the Downingtown Area School District, and George Hankins, Colonial Middle School of the Colonial School District. The 28 other honorees all earned $1,000 in gift cards to spend in their classrooms.

“We are showing that if we partner correctly, we can do great things in urban education,” Lozzi said.

Lozzi developed a model college and career readiness program that assists students in forging a personalized pathway to success following graduation. He has also worked as a leader of Robeson’s Math & Science Department and school leadership team that has been credited for helping the school achieve a 95-percent graduation rate. The School District of Philadelphia’s average is 70 percent.

“Our school is defying the odds,” said Lozzi. “85 to 95-percent of our kids are not expected to be proficient. But yet every year, we figure out a way to beat the odds. And we just got our 2021 numbers, and we are the best growing high school in the city of Philadelphia. And tonight I learned something, we are sustainable.”

Lozzi has received personal endorsements from Mayor Jim Kenney and the City Council of Philadelphia for his work. His program initiatives and community partnership have become models for providing opportunities for minority students in Philadelphia. With a background in banking, Lozzi fosters an appreciation for kids understanding the basics of personal finance and life skills. He was the past president of the South Philadelphia Business Association before transitioning to teaching 20 years ago.

Lozzi was honored along with 30 other education figures. The evening included speeches from state Department of Education Executive Secretary Debora Carrera, intermediate unit executive directors, Citadel executives, parents, students and teachers. Three local student groups gave performances including MadBeatz Drumline of West Philadelphia, CAPA Octet of Philadelphia, and the Downingtown East Vocal Ensemble.

“Citadel is proud to recognize 31 educators who each have a unique background and their own story. Across Greater Philadelphia, our counties, towns and districts have varied challenges and students with diverse needs,” said Mike Schnably, senior vice president, Citadel Credit Union. “What all areas have in common is there are dedicated teachers building strength in education. Celebrating teachers, the unsung heroes who mold our children, continues to be one of Citadel’s proudest moments as an organization each year.”