Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards

The Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards program annually honors Western Massachusetts educators and seeks to motivate teachers at all stages of their careers to aspire to excellence.

“As a ‘new teacher’ recipient, I feel the award affirms that my teaching strategies are effective and that I am creating an impact on my students.”A 2-YEAR TEACHER IN WILBRAHAM

The Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards (a program of the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation) annually honor outstanding Western Massachusetts educators in Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties and seeks to motivate teachers at all stages of their careers to aspire to excellence. Since its 2003 launch, Excellence in Teaching awards have been given to more than 1500 educators.

Award recipients receive gifts in recognition for their outstanding work, including
  • 2 tickets to a private gala reception
  • 2 tickets to the Awards Banquet
  • Cash prize
  • Opportunity to apply for a selective Classroom Innovator Prize to bring project-based learning to the classroom
  • Award plaque
  • Course tuition at a participating college or university
  • One year membership to WGBY
  • Membership for a limited time at a participating YMCA and the Springfield Jewish Community Center
  • Other gifts
Learn more about our Awards Banquet here.

“In terms of impact, my colleagues want to collaborate more on ideas and teaching resources.”A 4TH GRADE TEACHER FROM AMHERST

Award Selection Process
Superintendents in 45 school districts are responsible to act as, or appoint, a district representative to oversee a process for carefully selecting outstanding teacher award recipients based on student population. 

In February each year, districts announce nominated teachers. In March, teachers submit an informational “Nominated Teacher Form.” Nominated teachers have the option to submit a classroom project idea that promotes an educational goal and includes all students.

Learn about our program partners and supporters here.

“Teachers are so important to the development of our children. Anything we can do to support them, show our deep gratitude and nurture them is incredibly valuable. ”HAROLD GRINSPOON

Classroom Innovator Prize
Excellence in Teaching Awards winners are invited to apply for an additional $250 Classroom Innovator Prize to experiment with project-based learning in their classrooms.
Award winner and art teacher Andy Bell, West Springfield High School, explains: “My innovator project was aided by training I received an ‘Art and Social Change’ workshop at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams. My students researched and surveyed our community, and created an “installation” artwork about RESPECT. It was displayed at our arts festival, engaging the larger community.”
Project-based learning initiatives attracted the interest of Excellence in Teaching Awards program partner Harold Grinspoon, who engaged Boston filmmaker John Doan to produce a video capturing the excitement of three projects by 2017 Teacher Award winners.




For more information please contact Michelle Roberts:
[email protected]


Awards Banquet
Partners and Sponsors

Congratulations to our award recipients!