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OISE’s annual Staff Excellence Awards honour winners for outstanding contributions

March 28, 2019

The recipients of this year's Staff and Teaching Excellence Awards with members of the selection committee (from left to right): Brenda Stein Dzaldov, Ai-Ri Brown, Eunice Jang, Leesa Wheelahan, Mary Lovatsis, Michele Petersen-Badali, Dean Glen Jones, Susana La Rosa, Ian MacLeod, Marianne Lau, James Slotta, Helen Huang, Tanya Titchkosky, Rinaldo Walcott, Josie Di Vincenzo, Doug McDougall, and Claire Alleyne.

Congratulations to OISE's 2019 Staff Excellence Awards winners: Ai-Ri Brown, Susana La Rosa, Marianne Lau, and Mary Lovatsis.

The Staff Excellence Awards honour individuals and teams in categories of excellence, innovation and leadership. This recognition acknowledges the integral role these administrators play in making OISE an exceptional place to work and learn.

“Each nomination represents the tremendous contributions that our administrative staff members are making to OISE’s success,” said Dean Glen Jones, who is also a selection committee member. “We are truly privileged to have so many outstanding staff members who are committed to making a difference in everything we do.”

The staff award winners were honoured together with teaching award winners at a special reception on March 27. 

Learn more about the staff award winners below. 

Read about the Teaching Excellence Award Winners

See photos from the awards ceremony

The Dr. Claire Alleyne Staff Excellence Award

The Dr. Claire Alleyne Staff Excellence Award celebrates contributions of a staff member who has continually demonstrated deep commitment to excellence and outstanding service, and whose actions have created a positive and lasting impact on our community.

Ai-Ri Brown, Academic and Administrative Process Analyst in the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, is a recipient of the Dr. Claire Alleyne Staff Excellence Award.

Ai-Ri is a unique and talented professional who routinely goes above and beyond the scope of her position to advance a multitude of institutional priorities. This includes, for example, course and workload planning, student recruitment, academic planning and, most recently, the OISE Wellness initiative.

With almost no additional staff support, Ai-Ri has committed herself even in the off-hours to getting the OISE Wellness initiative off the ground. She has worked behind the scenes to develop and launch the OISE Wellness website, identify speakers for the ‘lunch and learn’ sessions and advance the work of the OISE’s Wellness Committee.

She continues to demonstrate a deep commitment to excellence in her role, and showcases exemplary leadership in everything she does. With her professionalism, enthusiasm and positive attitude, she models exemplary citizenship and collegiately at OISE.


Susana La Rosa, Application Programmer/Analyst, Institute for Knowledge, Innovation and Technology (IKIT), Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning is a recipient of the Dr. Claire Alleyne Staff Excellence Award.

Over the course of her longstanding career at OISE, Susana has distinguished herself through creativity, a can-do-anything mindset, team spirit, untiring energy and goal-oriented approach that sees the most complicated tasks through to completion.

Her exceptional organizational skills have enabled the complex operation of IKIT and she is often referred to as the “glue that holds it together” and IKIT’s “heart and soul”. Susana’s efforts have benefited the daily work of many students, teachers, alumni, faculty and staff within and beyond OISE. Her hard work and dedication have contributed to the success of many important initiatives such as the 2018 Knowledge Building Summer Institute and the Knowledge Forum—the most widely used computer-supported collaborative learning platform around the world.

Over the past 30 years, Susana has modeled a remarkable commitment to excellence and outstanding service to IKIT, CTL and OISE.

The Innovation Award

The Innovation Award celebrates the achievements of staff, individually or as a team, who have developed and implemented a creative solution that increases the productivity and enhances the value added to research, teaching and the administrative processes at OISE.

Marianne Lau, Marketing, Communications and Media Officer in the Office of Advancement and External Relations has been awarded the Innovation Award.

Marianne has gone above and beyond the requirements of her position to revitalize and modernize OISE’s digital and print brand, and to transform key marketing, recruitment, and fundraising efforts at OISE.

In 2017, she became the lead on the OISE Web Redesign project and has since worked proactively with a dynamic team of faculty, staff and leadership to build capacity in web writing and website administration across the Institute.

Marianne excels at innovation and is supremely creative when it comes to deploying the latest web and digital communications tools. Her design brilliance is evident through many OISE publications, such as OISE’s latest Academic Plan.

A tireless project manager with stellar leadership and communications skills, Marianne handles issues with empathy, understanding, diplomacy, and collaborative energy.

The Leadership Award

The Leadership Award celebrates the achievements of a staff member who has continually demonstrated exceptional leadership through inspiring a high level of commitment from others and motivating them to achieve outstanding results; setting and maintaining high professional standards.

Mary Lovatsis, Program Assistant and Liaison, Master of Teaching, Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, is this year’s winner of the Leadership Award.

Mary works at the hub of the MT program, the largest and most complex program at OISE with 830 students and 82 instructors. She provides ongoing support with impressive organizational abilities, attention to detail, a positive attitude and a caring heart.

Mary is an administrative lead on MT admissions and is main point of contact for prospective students, applicants and new admits to the program. Working with the Education Commons, Mary has helped to streamline the online applications management system resulting not only significant savings in time and reduction of errors, but also improving applicant experience.

In addition to supporting students, Mary is also a key facilitator for the MT instructors as she manages the induction to professional learning events and program meetings. Over the past 20 years, Mary’s deep commitment to excellence and outstanding service have been key in helping the MT grow from a rather small program of 120 students to over 800 students.

Dean Glen Jones, a member of the 2018-2019 Staff Awards Selection Committee, would like to acknowledge the hard work of all committee members: Clare Brett, Gurkiran Kaur, Michel Kouadio, Madelaine Panoulias, and Helen Huang (Committee Chair).