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Designing Safer Schools

August 23, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT


Designing Safer Schools:  In an era of ever-increasing gun violence 

A roundtable discussion led by Michael T. Pinto, AIA – Principal, NAC Architecture and Mariana Lavezzo, LEED AP – K12 Educational Designer, DLR Group

This roundtable will serve as a forum to:
  • Become acquainted with the planning principles that promote both progressive learning environments and safety.
  • Gain insight into the community perspective on how they can be engaged in making schools safer yet welcoming environments in which they feel cared for.
  • Understand how to plan for learning environments that support the integration of emotional intelligence into the curriculum for all school levels and preventative strategies being used (specifically Evidence-Based Practices)
  • Acquire an understanding of contemporary thinking about the design of educational spaces.


Michael Dannenberg, CTS, DMC-E – Associate Principal & Director of New & Emerging Technologies, Vantage Technology Consulting Group

With over 25 years of technical project management and systems engineering experience, Mike helps to create learning environments that are both engaging and secure for the students and academics alike. Mike excels in classroom system design and implementation. Known for his innovative solutions and creative approaches, he has worked on a wide variety of award-winning facilities and institutions. Mike is well versed in integrated videoconferencing design and environmental integration and his project experience often encompasses exploring how technology can best enable new teaching pedagogies.

In addition to his direct project work, Mike has been called upon to present to different school districts as they make the shift towards incorporating technology in a bigger way. Some of this involves training and creating a comfort level as teachers move into a more facilitative role, guiding the information rather than just imparting it.

Marisa Faynsod, LCSW – Faynsod Counseling

Marisa Faynsod is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  She previously worked at Children’s Institute Inc. as a Clinical Supervisor and the Coordinator of School Based Mental Health Services for 13 schools located in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Marisa is a National Trainer in Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in the Schools (CBITS) providing training throughout California.  Marisa is a National Certified Sexual Abuse Counselor and provides per-diem crisis intervention to sexual assault victims at the Rape Treatment Center at UCLA in Santa Monica.  Additionally, Marisa has a part time private practice in Manhattan Beach, CA and provides psychotherapy to children, families and adults.

Mariana Lavezzo, LEED AP – K12 Educational Designer, DLR Group

Mariana’s work includes the programming and visionary planning of educational facilities in the U.S. and abroad. Her 22 years of experience include expertise in the realm of working collaboratively with educators and researchers using interactive planning processes to help them achieve their pedagogical visions.  By staying current with research in multiple disciplines, she brings best practice thinking to bear on the activities of programming, planning workshops, space planning and POE’s. Mariana is widely recognized as an advocate for incorporating multiple intelligences and learning styles in K-12 design by being a frequent speaker and workshop facilitator at educational conferences.

Gloria Martinez – Elementary Vice President, UTLA

A National Board Certified Teacher in Special Needs, Gloria Martinez has been teaching for 17 years and serves as Elementary Vice President for United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), which represents 34,000 teachers and support staff throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District and is focused on fighting for the schools LA students deserve. She hold both general and special education credentials.

As a long-time chapter chair, Gloria led campaigns in support of special education compliance and gathering community support for UTLA-endorsed candidates for School Board and other key state initiatives.

She has taken the lead in campaigns against Prop 39 charter co-location and in informing parents about their rights regarding excessive standardized testing.

As a member of UTLA’s Board of Directors for East Area, Gloria went to the bargaining table to hammer away at LAUSD’s implementation of MISIS and its impact on services for ELL and special needs students, and the educators who serve them.

Gloria has been a key member of UTLA’s Organizing Team, which planned the escalating actions in UTLA’s 2014-2015 contract campaign; including the massive February 26, 2015 Stand at Grand rally at City Hall.

Gloria played a key role in the systematic organizing behind the 2015-2016 Build the Future, Fund the Fight campaign.  Gloria is active in CTA and CFT committee work and has presented at a national conference on organizing against privatization.

Michael T. Pinto, AIA – Principal, NAC Architecture

Michael leads design from a position that places strong emphasis on community engagement believing that our best work is informed by real and pragmatic concerns. In teaching and in practice, he is driven by a series of social interests including education, equitable food systems and social justice in urban design. An energetic designer, Michael has led teams to nearly 30 design awards in his career. He is also currently an Adjunct Professor at Woodbury University, engaging students in projects about urban sustainability. Michael has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Penn State University and a Master’s Degree from the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

Rocio Ramirez – PTA Vice President of Programs, Garvanza Elementary School

Rocio Ramirez holds a Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential and a Master’s Degree in Education. Her commitment to empowering families and children in Los Angeles has inspired her current project, “Four Steps to a Happy Child” and “Nurturing Future Leaders,” two school workbooks that help strengthen the home-school connection and teach children about self-management and relationship-building. Inspired by her experience as an elementary school teacher and by the many lessons parenthood brings, Ms. Ramirez continues to apply her strengths in working with children and families by joining L.A.U.S.D. and policy-makers in supporting school safety and academic excellence. When she is not writing or participating at school, she enjoys hiking and drinking tea but not at the same time.

“Created in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in partnership with LAUSD, this panel will hear from all our stakeholders—including students, parents, teachers, administrators—along with experts in a variety of fields to fashion recommendations about improving safety on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods.” – Mike Feuer, L.A. City Attorney



August 23, 2018
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT
Event Categories:
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NAC Architecture
837 N. Spring St. - 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012
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