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2019 Art Educator of the Year

Susan Ruttle Lawrence


Mrs. Lawrence shared her wisdom, energy and excitement generously and patiently with hundreds of practicum and student teachers. She was the most in-demand cooperating mentor; student teachers pleaded to be placed under her guidance, knowing they would learn from the best. Consequently, she helped to shape the excellent quality of many future/now current art educators, influencing their programs and their students. An impressive legacy!” –Dr. Sharon Kesterson Bollen


Susan Ruttle Lawrence’s Accomplishments

  • Adjunct Instructor, Co-Director and Academic Advisor, Art Education Program, Mount St. Joseph University, OH
  • NAEA Western Region Middle School Art Teacher of the Year, 1999
  • NAEA convention presenter, two times
  • OAEA Circa Society member, 35 years
  • OAEA Ohio Art Educator of the Year nominee, 2010, 2018
  • OAEA Middle Division Award, 1998
  • OAEA Southwest Region Outstanding Art Teacher Award, 1994
  • OAEA Southwest Region Vice President
  • OAEA Southwest Region Newsletter Editor
  • OAEA Regional OAEA High School Exhibition Chairperson
  • Regional OAEA YAM/YPAE Art Exhibition Chairperson
  • OAEA Local Conference Planning Committee Chair & Co-Chair
  • OAEA Local Conference Committee Fundraising Chair
  • 30-time OAEA conference presenter
  • Co-Director, Teacher as Artist Graduate Summer Workshops for Art Educators, Mount St. Joseph University
  • Assistant Director, Studio Art Workshops for ChildrenStudio San Giuseppe, Mount St. Joseph University
  • Committee Member, Cincinnati Art Museum Teacher Steering Committee 
  • Committee Member, Contemporary Art Center Education Committee
  • 2018 Community Outreach Award, Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation District
  • 2016 Outstanding Adjunct Award – Mount St. Joseph University
  • 2012 Oak Hills Local School District PTA Educator of the Year Award
  • 2012, 2011 Delhi Middle School PTA Educator of the Year Award – Oak Hills School District
  • 2010 National Endowment for the Humanities Recipient: Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop
  • Grant awardee nine times: Oak Hills Educational Foundation Grants, Oak Hills School District
  • Practicing and exhibiting artist, including Mount St. Joseph University Art & Design Faculty Exhibition, 2014, 2016, 2018; Kennedy Heights Juried Summer Exhibition, 2016; Parallel Visions Exhibition, Studio San Giuseppe, Mount St. Joseph University, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012

Exemplary art teaching and meaningful art making are the result of lifelong pursuits of exploration and learning, not something mastered in a single course or experience. The challenge while working with pre-service art educators is trying to ignite their passion, their love of on-going research and artistic experimentation so that when they step into their own art classrooms as artist/teachers they will feel empowered to provide intellectually stimulating units of study that are relevant and rewarding to their students. Gone are the days of prescribed art projects, rather, art students are now continually asked to stretch, explore and invest personal meaning within their works of art.  

~ Susan Ruttle Lawrence



The OAEA Art Educator of the Year award is a lifetime achievement award  presented to art educators who have often already received previous OAEA awards within their region and/or division.  These individuals have exhibited dedication and commitment to OAEA and art education over an extended period of years. It is the highest award the Ohio Art Education Association has to offer. 

  • Nominee for the OAEA Art Educator of the Year Award must:
  • Have served at least 10 years within the field of art education.
  • Be a member in good standing of OAEA for a minimum of seven (7) years as of Dec.1st.
  • Have developed a philosophy and theory of art teaching that is consistently reflected both in and outside the classroom.
  • Be actively engaged in the field of art education through research, development of literature in the field, and exploration of current issues. 
  • Be a leader in developing innovative curricula and methodology.
  • Show leadership at the state or national level. Nominee shall be active in state and/or national activities. State does not relate to local/regional affiliations. National activities shall include, but not be limited to state and national affiliation and beyond.
  • Show commitment and dedication to the field through understanding, compassion, and helpfulness to students and colleagues.
  • Be professionally active by publishing articles concerning art education, giving speeches in support of art education and/or the  arts, and/or continue to create art and exhibit their own artwork.  
  • Be willing to become a member of NAEA upon receiving OAEA Art Educator of the Year Award.
  • Agree to be present at the annual conference to receive the award.

 Selection Procedure

  • Nominations for Ohio Art Educator of the Year may begin in the ARTline editions for summer and fall. All nomination forms must be submitted online by the close of the annual OAEA Conference.
  • All nomination forms must include nominee’s full address and telephone number. The Awards Chairperson will issue the Standardized Vita Form and Nomination Materials Request Form to the nominee by December 1st.
  • All information must be submitted, via online form, to the Regional Director by January 31.  
  • A committee appointed by the Awards Chairperson will review the nominations and the criteria to determine the finalists.
  • Finalists will appear in the OAEA Eblast for digital membership vote in April/May.
  • Recipient of the Award will be announced on the OAEA website and at the Fall Conference.

Required Forms (these are writable pdf's)