Phil Poinelli Awarded A4LE Fellow at LearningSCAPES 2021

Phil Poinelli SMMA Learning Environment Planner at his desk

SMMA’s Philip Poinelli was announced this week as a new LE Fellow by the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) at the LearningSCAPES 2021 Conference in Denver, Colorado.

Poinelli, who has served as Chair of the Board of the A4LE since 2020, is one of only two members to receive the LE Fellow Designation this year. An LE Fellow is the most respected member of the A4LE community, with designation reserved for “individuals who have consistently contributed to the A4LE and its constituents through service, education, and mentorship.”

Poinelli was chosen by panel of five A4LE Fellows drawn from five of the association’s U.S. regional chapters. In their statement, the panel praised Poinelli’s “thorough and comprehensive application which provided jurors with a clear understanding of who you are, your contributions to A4LE, willingness to mentor others, and to improve learning environments.”

“It's obviously a wonderful recognition by my peers of my contribution to the organization,” said Poinelli. “This is a recognition of dedication, of service, and it's wonderful to have been able to achieve all this, while making new friends and having fun.”

Poinelli, who celebrated 30 years at SMMA this year, is a recognized national expert in the master planning and programming of K-12 learning environments. His landmark projects include the groundbreaking Swampscott High School—notable for its integrated senior center—and North Middlesex Regional High School, one of three Poinelli-planned school designs to win an A4LE Ed Kirkbride Award.

In 2018, Poinelli was recognized with the A4LE’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the educational facility planning industry. He was appointed to A4LE Chair of the Board in July 2020, where he oversees the association’s new JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) initiative, as well as guiding the association through the demands of the pandemic.

Alex Pitkin, a Senior Vice President at SMMA, paid tribute to Poinelli’s contributions to the field: “Phil has been an inspiration for all of us in the K-12 studio. He has a remarkable depth of knowledge of how children learn, and specifically how the built environments we endeavor to create for our clients can positively impact the lives of teachers and students. Phil's passion for all things educational is evident in his tireless thirst for his own growth and in this recognition by his peers.”

The A4LE’s LearningSCAPES conference brings together school designers, planners, and construction experts from around the country. Held at the Hyatt Regency in Denver, this year’s conference explores the theme of ‘Education, Planning, and Design in Fifty Years’ in a series of exhibitions, discussion sessions, and keynote speeches.