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.

Philanthropist Harold Grinspoon has always felt strongly about the need to acknowledge and reward those unseen heroes who quietly make a difference in our lives and our communities. With that goal in mind, in 2003 the Harold Grinspoon Foundation launched the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards.

“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

The program annually honors more than a hundred 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 inception over 2000 educators have been recognized. Today, the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation partners with the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation to make the Excellence in Teaching Awards possible.

Winners are celebrated at three festive awards banquets attended by their families, colleagues, and friends along with many dignitaries.

To receive such an honor midway through my career inspires me to continue to improve my craftA 20-YEAR HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER IN AMHERST

A new winner is announced with a surprise celebration in the classroom

The active participation of school districts is critical to the program’s success. Superintendents and heads of school act as, or appoint, representatives to oversee a process determined by each district for selecting Excellence in Teaching Award recipients. Eligible educators must teach full time and be certified in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the number of awards in each district is based on student population. Districts with more than 2000 enrolled students are eligible to also nominate candidates for a “New Teacher” award, which recognizes promising educators with less than three years experience.

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

Learn about our program partners and supporters HERE 

Annual award winners are also invited to submit a Project Based learning idea to be run in their classroom and if selected, they can receive an additional “Classroom Innovator Prize,” which has attracted a host of creative hands-on projects. The video below, produced by Boston filmmaker John Doan in 2017, captures the excitement of three unique projects of Classroom Innovator Prize winners. To educate teachers about the principles and benefits of Project Based Learning, public media GBH Boston and NEPM Springfield offer an expert-led webinar each spring.

“Project Based Learning stimulates the mind, enhances engagement and fosters creative interactions in the classroom”. HAROLD GRINSPOON



For more information please contact Michelle Roberts:


Awards Banquet
Partners and Sponsors

Congratulations to our award recipients!