Cuningham & SPPS | Connecting Communities To Their Schools

July 5, 2023

In order for a community to buy into what a school district wants to do, it has to be engaged in the process. While that might sound impossible, the guests on this episode are proof that there is a productive bridge that you can build between a community and its schools. Joining the podcast are Tom Parent from Saint Paul Public Schools as well as Meg Parsons and Heidi Neumueller from Cuningham. They talk about the power and possibility of inviting stakeholders into the process of school design. They share a broad vision for interacting with the community as well as specific ideas that have helped them shape their schools for the better.

To see what the panel is talking about during the podcast, visit the following two pages:

Tom Parent, AIA, serves as the Executive Director of Operations and Administration for Saint Paul Public Schools, Minnesota's largest urban school district, where he oversees 9 departments and numerous staff. His primary focus is on the involvement of communities in strategic planning of built environments, an effort that earned him recognition from the International Association of Public Participation. He is a licensed architect with significant experience in educational and non-profit settings. His credentials include being a 2013 Hubert H. Humphrey Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota.

Margaret (Meg) Parsons, FAIA, NCARB, ALEP, LEED AP BD+C, ALEP, is a licensed Architect and Principal at Cuningham, a 320-person firm with six US locations. Since 1989, she has focused on educational projects, assisting schools with facility planning and community engagement, and leading efforts on numerous projects including the Facility Master Plan for Saint Paul Public Schools. She was elevated to the American Institute of Fellows (FAIA) in 2020 and is an Accredited Learning Environment Professional (ALEP) through A4LE. Parsons, who's licensed in 14 states, is a published author, former guest lecturer at San Diego State University, and serves as the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) Region 4 Board Director, and the Board Chair of Cuningham.

Heidi Neumueller brings a combination of commitment, drive, and sensitivity to each project. She is adept at leading immersive workshops, engaging with clients and user groups, to transform their vision and needs into active environments for learning. Heidi is leading conversations across the country based on her research of the key design components that contribute to safety and security of inclusive restroom design. Heidi is the 2018 recipient of the AIA Minnesota Young Architect Award.

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