For 33 years and counting, the Education Foundation of Yuma County has celebrated the devotion and diligence of local educators through its annually hosted Teacher of the Year banquet and awards ceremony.

Co-sponsored by the Yuma Rotary Club and various local businesses, the event traditionally brings teachers from all realms of local education to the Yuma Civic and Convention Center for the naming of primary, intermediate/special area, middle school/junior high and high school category finalists as well as the overall teacher of the year.

In February of this year, 56 educators were nominated for the 2020 Teacher of the Year award and, following a series of interviews with a panel of Rotarians, semifinalists were selected for each category. These individuals were set to proceed to the final round, in which they would once again be interviewed and submit written essays and videos of themselves explaining what they’d like the community to know about education today to assist the panel in selecting the category finalists and 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Due to COVID-19, however, this year’s banquet – initially set for April 21 – was cancelled and reworked in order to both celebrate the deserving individuals and conform to health and safety guidelines.

In recent weeks, the interview process resumed virtually via Zoom, solidifying category winners and an overall Teacher of the Year, which will be announced in a virtual awards ceremony set for Nov. 17 at 6 p.m.

“We feel compelled to continue our tradition of recognizing exceptional educators,” said James Sheldahl, president of the Education Foundation’s board of directors. “This year’s event theme is ‘Advancing Education’ so hosting a virtual event felt fitting.”

The event will stream live on the Education Foundation’s website, www.yumaedfoundation.org.

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