Learning Environments Australasia bestows its highest honour, Life Membership to Richard Leonard, in recognition of long and dedicated service and outstanding contribution to leadership.

Richard has committed many years of service to LEA, joining CEFPI in 2006.

Richard is an architect and Director of Hayball, one of Australia’s largest architecture practices, with offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. He is primarily responsible for the education and education research portfolios within the practice.

Richard became Victorian Chapter Chair from 2007 – 2011 and then again in 2013 – 2014.

As Chair, he strengthened the awards programme, increased organisation membership and led the Communications team, sharing the great work being accomplished across Victoria. He bridged awareness between architects and school communities often leveraging his industry profile to bring attention to the organisation’s mission.

Richard joined the CEFPI Executive in 2014, holding office, of Chair-Elect, Chair and then Past Chair in 2018.

During his tenure as Chair and Executive Board Member his vision and effective leadership saw the implementation of key campaigns, notably, launching the association’s most recent chapter, the ACT at the Canberra conference in 2015 and establishing Regional Day Out as a regular event.

Richard’s dedication and commitment over the last decade have advanced the organisation’s strategic objectives, increased membership and improved the association’s financial health. With his support, the association was able to increase member support by recruiting a new staff member to join the team. The additional resource enabled the staff to drive LEA forward by improving operations such as managing a national database and executing marketing and communications activities including social media and additional events. He has been integral to the success of LEA, bringing his hard-matched energy to the full spectrum of business and planning as well as high-level engagement to the organisation’s many initiatives from advancing research to facilitating member events and conferences.

A regular contributor to education media, conferences, seminars and forums, Richard has presented at A4LE international events and delivered keynote presentations at prestigious conferences and institutions around the world, including Education Construction Network conference, London; EERA Conference Reforming Education and the Imperative of Constant, Copenhagen; LearningScapes Experience Asia Conference, Singapore; OECD, Imagine: Exploring radical visions for tomorrow’s schools, Vienna; and at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Working across the organisation, Richard has advocated for the elevation of the role and significance of A4LE on a global scale. Stepping away from the Executive Board in 2019, Richard remains active in the organisation at an international level, as Co-Chair of the Global Expansion Workgroup. He is a member of the Learning Environments applied Research Network (LEaRN) and collaborates with the University of Melbourne where Hayball is a Linkage Partner in several ARC education research initiatives.

Richard used his vast network of education specialists, academics and government contacts to organise symposiums, workshops, and universities sessions to inform and share the diverse influences shaping contemporary education and the role of design within its framework.

As schools across all sectors are transitioning towards contemporary teaching and learning practices and shifting to a student-centric model and as such, constructing new environments to support these pedagogies is absolutely necessary. He has provided much of the impetus behind the integration of modern education philosophies into the design of new educational facilities. Richard continues to make meaningful contributions to the organisation; as a mentor to Chapter and Board members and the wider LEA community and presents year-round at LEA conferences and events.

This citation honours the significant contribution Richard Leonard has made to Learning Environments Australasia.