Philip J. Poinelli Honored by A4LE Lifetime Achievement Award

Philip J. Poinelli Honored By A4LE Lifetime Achievement Award

Philip Poinelli, FAIA, SMMA Educational Facility Planner, reached a major career milestone earlier this month by becoming the Association for Learning Environments’ most recent recipient of its esteemed Lifetime Achievement Award.

According to the A4LE itself, “the Lifetime Achievement Award is the most distinguished professional award bestowed to an individual Association for Learning Environments member. This award is designed to honor an individual who has distinguished themselves by making significant lasting contributions to the educational facility planning industry throughout their career […] the activities upon which the nomination is based shall have produced a body of work that consistently created a positive and significant regional, national or international impact on the learning environment.”

The selection jury specifically commended Poinelli on his work and character, including comments such as: “A long career with consistent dedication to ideals and willingness to share with others and an outstanding singular achievement,” and “An association leader, a lecturer, an author and presenter; impressive breadth and depth of contribution to school architecture.”

Poinelli was recognized during the organization’s LearningSCAPES 2018 conference in Chicago, IL, which was succinctly branded (re)imagine; the gathering focused on interpreting the deeper meanings of education and creating environments that facilitate the pedagogy of education through a series of topic-based seminars and school tours that took place over the course of four days.

A long-time participant, Poinelli has attended many A4LE global conferences over the years. “It pulls together anywhere from 600 to 900 educationally-focused professionals from across the world,” he explains. Poinelli, who was also named Chair Elect to the Executive Committee at the recent conference, will serve as chair of the A4LE Board of Directors beginning in 2020.

During the LearningSCAPES symposium, he arranged several guest speaker panels on School Safety and Security, and co-facilitated a panel about bringing visibility to the approach of softening school environments. The entire planning process for the symposium took months to organize, starting back in April at a joint meeting with the AIA and Committee on Architecture for Education in Baltimore, MD: “A4LE decided that a taskforce was necessary. By the end of June, we had four sub-committees addressing the many, complex issues on the subject. From the middle of September on, we were packaging the event to be ready for the end of October. For A4LE, school safety and security will be an ongoing commitment; (re)imagine only scratches the surface.”

On the last day of the conference, Poinelli shared a few heartfelt sentiments about his passion for his life’s work as he accepted the honorary award:

“It’s really wonderful receiving this recognition from the association from David [Schrader], my long-time close friend and professional colleague. I want to acknowledge the other nominees, all of whom have similarly dedicated their careers to the advancement of the professions of education, educational environments and children. I want to thank my wife, Anne, who has put up with my late-night meetings, missed dinners and crazy stories. I need to acknowledge two architects whom none of you know, my mentors Bob Kramer and Walter Pierce, who taught me a work ethic and commitment to giving back. I hope I am half as good a mentor to others as they were to me. I know it’s not possible, but I feel I have another lifetime to give to this profession. You all keep me young at heart. Thank you for this honor.”
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