Mariana LavezzoLEED AP / ALEP

Director of School Planning

Sacramento, California

Mariana Lavezzo has worked with educators around the world to plan and develop school facilities that empower students and reflect their communities. As a planner and designer, she fosters a collaborative, research-driven approach that make sustainability, equity and wellness a core part of the design process.

On a wide range of education projects — from intimate campuses to large-scale urban districts — Mariana has helped empower communities by engaging them in a co-creative planning process. By working through the challenges together, the process develops a common vision, which serves as the foundation for the innovative design of inclusive facilities that improve learning outcomes and create long-term community benefits. Throughout her career, she has been a passionate advocate for linking design to educational goals, developing active outdoor learning spaces and making students the center of the design process.

Mariana’s 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 brings a broad breadth of experience to every project. Her personal approach to school planning is influenced by her experiences growing up in Latin America, followed by the challenges of assimilating to the culture and schools in California. Early in her career, she worked in the residential and hospitality sectors, giving her an added appreciation for the value of bringing warmth and nature into the planning and design process. Later, she shifted her focus to K-12, working on a variety of planning and school design projects 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 and beta-test the development of the Common Ground Collaborative (CGC) curriculum.

A frequent speaker at industry events, Mariana is leading the national discussion on a holistic approach to school planning, ensuring the authentic engagement of multi-cultural communities, including children and experts from different disciplines. [BK1] She is an active leader in the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE), the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (C.A.S.H) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) education programs.