PRESS RELEASE – Holyoke Public Schools educators honored for teaching excellence

March 8, 2017


Holyoke, Massachusetts – The prestigious Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching (PVEIT) Award from the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), and the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation was presented on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 to six Holyoke Public Schools teachers.  Excited family members and district administrators surprised the teachers with balloons and flowers.


This year’s Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award winners include: Mike Cotto, Holyoke High School; Marcus Holt, Dean Technical High School; Cynthia Gerena, Kelly School; Trishe Belloma, Morgan School, Kerry Gallagher, E.N. White School; and Katie Plasse, Donahue School.  “It is a privilege to recognize this year’s Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award winners for their outstanding dedication to our students and their commitment to the profession,” stated Receiver/Superintendent of Schools Dr. Stephen Zrike.  “We are fortunate to employ so many talented, hard-working and student-centered educators in Holyoke!”


The prestigious award is distributed annually to honor Western Massachusetts educators for their dedication and excellence.  Winners are nominated by their colleagues based upon the following suggested criteria: excellence in teaching practices, subject mastery and scholarship, effectiveness and creativity, impact on students, support of and positive impact upon other teachers’ practice, participation in professional development, evidence of going above and beyond in classroom and school community.


The Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awardees receive a cash award, an engraved plaque, a 3-month membership at a local YMCA and the Springfield Jewish Community Center, and tuition grants to take graduate courses at several colleges and universities.  They will be be honored in the spring at a banquet with awardees from other districts at The Log Cabin Restaurant in Holyoke, MA.




Judy Taylor, Communications Director

(413) 493-1605,


If you have any questions or are interested in visiting the Holyoke Public Schools, please contact Director of Communications Judy Taylor, at (413) 493-1605


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