School districts across the region participated in a rigorous process to select the winners of the 2020 Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards. The program, which is in its 18th year, celebrates outstanding educators who make a significant impact on their colleagues and school community. This past winter, the announcements were made in surprise visits — accompanied by balloons, flowers, and music — to the classrooms of 113 recipients across 30 school districts. As plans were being finalized for the gala banquet to publicly honor this year’s winners, COVID-19 forced school closings and the cancellation of events statewide. Nevertheless, the award program partners — the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation and the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation — took steps in this unprecedented year to ensure that 2020 winners were lauded and celebrated.