Design firm expands education leadership team with veteran planner focused on increasing equity, sustainability and wellness in schools
IRVINE, CALIF. — APRIL 11, 2022 — Veteran K-12 planner Mariana Lavezzo is joining LPA Design Studios as Director of School Planning, where she will help guide the firm’s research-driven approach to designing high-performance schools that do more to support learners and educators.
Lavezzo brings more than 16 years of experience to the role, working with a wide range of K-12 districts to develop schools that produce better outcomes and support their communities. A frequent speaker at industry events, she is helping to lead the national discussion on expanding the roles of equity, sustainability and wellness in the design process.
Her career highlights include the equity-based district-wide master plan and educational specifications for Sacramento City USD, covering 73 sites; the master plan for Yuba Watershed Experience Center, an experiential learning education center for Yuba County schools on the Yuba River that addresses broad community and cultural goals; and the new Samohi Discovery building for Santa Monica Malibu USD that promotes inquiry-based learning for the district.
“Mariana is a perfect addition as we expand our leadership team to meet the needs of our clients,” said LPA Chief Executive Officer Wendy Rogers. “Her talent, passion and focus on an evidence-based, multi-disciplinary approach to school planning are a natural fit for LPA.”
Lavezzo joins an education planning team with a 37-year track record of supporting the education visions of districts in California and Texas. LPA is at the forefront of designing net- zero schools and high-performance environments that inspire learners and reflect their communities.
In recent years, Lavezzo worked with LPA Director of K-12 Kate Mraw on presentations for the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) and the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (C.A.S.H), sharing information on inclusive community outreach strategies.
“I have always admired LPA’s innovative work and held it up as a benchmark,” Lavezzo says. “We share a desire to explore school design through a lens that includes environmental quality, performance, economic development and equity.”
Lavezzo’s collaborative approach and openness to explore different ideas was greatly influenced by her years growing up in Latin America, as well as time spent working overseas with educators in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including a master plan and new high school for the International School of Brussels in Belgium to support the Common Ground Collaborative (CGC) curriculum. Throughout her career, Lavezzo has been a passionate advocate for active outdoor learning spaces; a collaborative, inclusive design process; and the importance of making students the center of the design process.
“She always brings it back to empowering students,” said LPA Director of K-12 Kate Mraw. “Every engagement reflects her enthusiasm for finding better ways to develop campuses that elevate communities.”