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Valentina Imbeni's picture

Valentina Imbeni

Head of School
Valentina Imbeni's picture

Valentina Imbeni

Head of School
Valentina was born in Modena, Italy and spent most of her life in Bologna. She graduated from the University of Bologna and went on to get a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Bologna University and the University of Cambridge, U.K. She moved to San Francisco in 2000 to work for the University of California, Berkeley. After the birth of her two sons, Stefano and Matteo, Valentina discovered her passion for children and early childhood education and decided to get accredited from the State of California as a Site Supervisor/Program Director. Valentina enrolled her son Stefano at La Scuola Italian International School in 2005 and immediately fell in love with the school and became a vital member of the La Scuola community. Valentina accepted the position of Direttrice in June 2007. Valentina loves her two boys, Italian food and culture and the Pacific Ocean. She is passionate about science, social constructivism and the Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy.
Federica Lentini's picture

Federica Lentini

Early Childhood Director
Federica Lentini's picture

Federica Lentini

Early Childhood Director
Federica grew up in the city of Torino, in the north west of Italy. She received her degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Torino in 2005. In 2007 she passed the exam to be licensed as a psychologist. During her project at the University, she has worked with special needs children and with individuals with “internet addiction” and attachment disorders. After her studies, Federica decided to move to San Francisco where she volunteers at the Women’s Building as a counselor for SFWAR. Federica joined the La Scuola team in the spring of 2008. She enjoys spending time with children and to experience and learn from the way that children learn. La Scuola is a great place to share her culture and passions with others. Federica is passionate about music, especially singing and playing the guitar. For many years, Federica studied at the “Centro Jazz” in Torino and at the “Madrigale”. This passion makes San Francisco a great place to be for Federica.
Sally Peterson's picture

Sally Peterson

Lower School Director
Sally Peterson's picture

Sally Peterson

Lower School Director
Sally was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Alexandria, Virginia. She studied Italian at undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Virginia. Sally enrolled into Universita’ Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan as part of completing her B.A. in History and Italian. For over a decade, she worked in international licensing and manufacturing for Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, collaborating with colleagues around the globe. Sally moved from New York City to San Francisco in 1993. While raising two curious and energetic children, she shifted her focus to child development and elementary education – and earned a multiple subject teaching credential from San Francisco State University. In 2007, Sally enrolled her daughter in La Scuola where Sally was introduced to Reggio Emilia philosophy and the school community. Over the past four years, Sally has taught in diverse classrooms, throughout the city including several language immersion schools. She is enthusiastic about the long-term vision of the International Baccalaureate program and teaching in an Italian immersion setting.
Douglas Lowney's picture

Douglas Lowney

Middle School Director & IB Programs Coordinator
& Grade 6-7 Humanities Teacher
Douglas Lowney's picture

Douglas Lowney

Middle School Director & IB Programs Coordinator
& Grade 6-7 Humanities Teacher
Born and raised in Palo Alto, Douglas studied philosophy at Vassar College and earned a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts from Stanford University. An English and philosophy teacher at the high school level for 13 years, Doug has served as a middle and high school principal for the last seven years, most recently at an International Baccalaureate school in Belgium. He is excited to work in a school that extends the Reggio Emilia educational vision through the IB Primary and Middle Years programs.  An Irish and American citizen, Doug is the father two multilingual French-American children, currently pursuing their studies in London and Brussels. His Italian bona fides include: pretending to be Marco Pantani while riding his Somec from Bergamo up to Roncola; reading Svevo and Vattimo in various cafes in Parma; and concealing the fact that he has no tattoos while taking in the nightlife in Rome’s Pigneto neighborhood.
Dunja Solari's picture

Dunja Solari

Director of Admissions
Dunja Solari's picture

Dunja Solari

Director of Admissions
Dunja is an international person. She was born in Croatia, raised in Germany and then went on to receive her B.A.(Hons) degree in Philosophy and Politics from the University of Durham, England. Having worked as a project manager for a management consultancy and Deutsche Bank in London, Dunja came to the Bay Area in 1998 to study Internet Design and Technology at San Francisco State University and has been here ever since. Having spent many years as a parent volunteering for the school and the admissions committee, Dunja joined the staff as Director of Admissions in 2012. She is fluent in English, German, Croatian, Serbian, can converse in French and is currently studying Italian. Dunja is passionate about the Reggio Emilia approach to learning and considers the programs at La Scuola a true gift for children. Outside of La Scuola, Dunja can be found spending time with her husband and 2 children biking, hiking, skiing, painting or visiting one of the many art galleries and museums in San Francisco.
Paola Barberi's picture

Paola Barberi

Admissions Associate
Paola Barberi's picture

Paola Barberi

Admissions Associate
Paola hails from Oleggio, a small town near lago Maggiore in the Piemonte region of Italy where she lived until obtaining her diploma in languages and literature from the Liceo Linguistico Giacomo Leopardi of Novara.

She came to San Francisco via London where she enjoyed a career spanning several years in the music industry organizing promotional activities for established and up and coming artists. After moving to San Francisco, she studied various holistic therapies, a passion she then pursued in part-time private practice particularly cranial sacral therapy, lymphatic drainage and acupressure.

In parallel, Paola applied her experience in promotions, personal management and interpersonal relations to the field of advanced healthcare technology, with roles in communications management and executive support.

She can be found at various venues in the bay area and beyond enjoying musical acts perform and she is still a student of holistic therapies, currently studying the “Healing from the core” curriculum. Paola is passionate about Social Emotional Learning and is forever endeavoring to deepen her meditation practice. She is the mother of a La Scuola alumni who has had the privilege of volunteering in various capacities and whose heart never left the school. Paola is now very excited to return as a member of the staff!
Dani Sollberger's picture

Dani Sollberger

Director of Administration
Dani Sollberger's picture

Dani Sollberger

Director of Administration
Originally from Los Angeles, Dani received  her undergraduate degree in Communications from UC Berkeley and went on to live in Florence, Siena, Sicily and Washington D.C. before settling down in San Francisco. She most recently ran content production and strategy for a Smart Kitchen startup, and prior to that spent the last 13+ years as the right hand to the CEO at seven different tech companies. Dani is passionate about working with educators and learners from around the world, and excited to focus her time and energy on a mission she so deeply believes in.

Dani and her husband Simon, who is from Switzerland, have two children, Audrey and Balen, who each spent three years at La Scuola. In their free time, they like to spend time with family and friends, hike, travel, cook and eat together. They love driving up (or down) the coast with the windows down and lo zio Franco blasting.
Shannon Cleary's picture

Shannon Cleary

Director of Advancement
Shannon Cleary's picture

Shannon Cleary

Director of Advancement
Shannon was born in Upstate New York and grew up in the Pocono Mountain area of Pennsylvania before moving to Japan after graduating from Ursinus College, just outside of Philadelphia. With a degree in International Relations, she also studied at Tohoku Gakuin University in Sendai where she learned the value of fluency in other languages and cultures.

After years in Sendai and Chiba, Japan as both interpreter and language teacher, Shannon moved to Maui, Hawaii and became a publisher of a Japanese magazine and a founding member of Maui Preparatory Academy where she worked as a foreign language teacher and Admissions Director.  Following her time at Maui Prep, she started her career in Advancement at La Jolla Country Day School in annual Giving & alumni relations. After five years, Shannon returned to grow advancement programs in both public charter and International Baccalaureate schools in Hawaii.

In addition to her passion for education, Shannon has run across the United States, enjoys jumping out of planes, and spending time with family and friends.

In spring of 2019, Shannon accepted the newly established role of Director of Advancement for La Scuola and could not be more excited to be a part of the team to move La Scuola to its new home in The Mission.
Joel Danoy's picture

Joel Danoy

Marketing & Communications Manager
Elisa Leonardi's picture

Elisa Leonardi

Facilities Manager
Elisa Leonardi's picture

Elisa Leonardi

Facilities Manager
Elisa was born and grew up in Bologna, where she received her degree in Medical Biotechnologies. She worked for almost 10 years as a researcher and clinical biologist, earning a PhD in Cellular Biology and Physiology. She’s also has been working as a tutor for students from elementary to high school. Beside science, she is passionate about education and music: she volunteered in many youth associations, supporting kids and teenagers with difficult social conditions; in the last 4 years, she joined an international choir, having the great opportunity to sing with friends from all over the world and enjoy concerts around Europe. She believes in education as the key to build a better world for everyone. Elisa moved to San Francisco following her husband and she found an amazing multicultural environment in the Bay Area: she’s really happy to teach at La Scuola, a new challenge joining many of her passions. In her free time she loves to travel and explore new places and cultures as well as spending time outdoors and with friends.
Giulia Sinigagliesi's picture

Giulia Sinigagliesi

EA to the Head of School &
Middle School Campus Manager
Giulia Sinigagliesi's picture

Giulia Sinigagliesi

EA to the Head of School &
Middle School Campus Manager
Giulia was born and raised in Milan. After earning a Master Degree in Communication Theories and Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano she started working for different communication agencies, taking care of many national and international brands. Two years ago her husband received a job offer in the Bay Area and they decided to start a new adventure in San Francisco. Giulia fell in love with the city and the diversity which runs in its veins. She thinks that experiencing new things and adventures with your own hands and facing new realities is the best way to learn for every human being. That's why she was impressed by the Reggio Emilia approach of La Scuola. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, eating good food, visiting art exhibition, camping and practicing outdoor activities.

 
Lisa Bettencourt's picture

Lisa Bettencourt

Elementary Campus Manager
Lisa Bettencourt's picture

Lisa Bettencourt

Elementary Campus Manager
Lisa’s lifelong love for Italian culture lead her on the path to study at Richmond in Rome and Università degli Studi di Firenze. After earning her B.A. Communications & Psychology at UC Santa Barbara, Lisa turned her focus to youth education and working with kids with special needs. 

La Scuola is a perfect combination of her passions...Italy, curiosity for life, and inclusive teaching of children. Lisa has a natural connection and diverse background with kids: coaching soccer in Italy and with Girls Leading Girls, swim instructing at JCCSF, history working at international schools and volunteering. She is excited to join the beautiful La Scuola family and continue to grow with the community.  

Lisa loves the pure adventure and serendipity of life, spending her free time traveling, cooking, going to concerts and writing. When the fog lifts in San Francisco you can find her soaking up the sun with an old book. 
Cristina Nicolosi's picture

Cristina Nicolosi

Preschool Campus Manager
Cristina Nicolosi's picture

Cristina Nicolosi

Preschool Campus Manager
Cristina was born in Sicily, Italy to an Italian/American mother and Italian father and was raised there before relocating to Kansas City. She travels back to Italy frequently and studied International Studies for some time at John Cabot University in Rome.

She graduated with a degree in International Business from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO.

She loves working with children and has spent much of her time volunteering, coaching lacrosse and holding child care positions. 

She enjoys immersing herself in diverse cultures and learning the intricacies of interaction between them. She seeks a life full of adventure and is passionate about food and entertaining, spending time outdoors, family and friends. Cristina is thrilled to be a part of La Scuola!
Gerald Jose's picture

Gerald Jose

Business Manager /
Director of Finance
Gerald Jose's picture

Gerald Jose

Business Manager /
Director of Finance
Gerald was born and raised in the Philippines and has lived and worked in four continents. He earned his B.S. in Industrial Management Engineering from De La Salle University in Manila and Master of Business Administration from the Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven, in Belgium, where he had a brief stint in a Flemish business environment. Gerald worked for over 20 years with a leading U.S. global bank and its affiliated companies, in the Philippines and Guam, managing different areas of the consumer banking business. During this period he attended professional training programs in Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, and the United States, and was certified for the Finance for Senior Executives program at the Asian Institute of Management. After moving to San Francisco with his wife and three daughters in 1999, Gerald channeled his managerial skills contracting with various Bay Area businesses. Prior to La Scuola, he was the business manager/finance director for over seven years at a diocesan high school in Oakland. He has been and continues to be involved in parish and school communities/non-profits, volunteering in their finance committees. Gerald loves to travel, and Italy is his favorite vacation destination. He is happy to be working in La Scuola, where there are new things to learn – incluso capire e parlare italiano.
Wheeler Freeman's picture

Wheeler Freeman

Bookkeeping Manager
Wheeler Freeman's picture

Wheeler Freeman

Bookkeeping Manager
Wheeler grew up in a predominantly Italian neighborhood of Siracusa, New York. It was there, while working at a local hospital as a Senior Discharge Analyst auditing and managing patient records, that he studied Art and Art History, inspiring him to visit the great museums of Europe. His interest in the diversity and creativity of the Bay Area brought him to San Francisco in the mid 1990's where he accepted a position as an underwriter for a leading international insurance company.

During his 14 years writing Security & Privacy policies for the insurance company he found time to study Accounting, Acting, and 3D Animation. He eventually took a position as Senior Accountant at a nonprofit that focused on the challenges of diversifying the tech industry and promoting education of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) for low income minority youth. It is his passion for education, diversity and respect of cultures that brought him to the accounting family of La Scuola.  Wheeler loves all facets of the arts; cinema, museums, theater, ballet and opera. You can often find him reading a book in the park, hosting a movie night with a group of friends, hiking, backpacking for a relaxing weekend in the wilderness or volunteering at the SPCA socializing kittens and cats for adoption.  He is very excited to be reintroduced to the Italian language, to continue his professional development and to be inspired by La Scuola.
Isabella Ng's picture

Isabella Ng

Development, Data and Bookkeeping Associate
Isabella Ng's picture

Isabella Ng

Development, Data and Bookkeeping Associate
Isabella was born and raised in Hong Kong. She received her Bachelor’s of Art from the San Francisco State University where she majored in Interior Design/Consumer and Family Studies.

Isabella worked for Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area as Accounting Associate for over 10 years where she used Raiser’s Edge, cloud-based fundraising and relationship management solution for nonprofits organizations and accounting solution, Financial Edge.

Isabella loves taking her 2 corgis for walks, loves trying new restaurants and enjoys good eats. She is thrilled to join La Scuola community!
Stephanie Jones's picture

Stephanie Jones

Auxiliary Programs Manager
Stephanie Jones's picture

Stephanie Jones

Auxiliary Programs Manager
Stephanie has worked in a range of sub positions at La Scuola in 2017-18.  She obtained her B.A. in Asian Studies with a minor in Chinese.  Stephanie is currently completing an M.A. in Asian Pacific Studies at the University of San Francisco.  She has previously studied in China and South Korea.

 

Auxiliary Staff

Sandro Barbini's picture

Sandro Barbini

Facilities Assistant
Sandro Barbini's picture

Sandro Barbini

Facilities Assistant
Sandro was born in Ancona, Italy, but grew-up with his family and attended school in Bologna. He spent the first half of his life pursuing a sports career as a professional cyclist; he also excelled in basketball and soccer. Since then, he has had over 25 years of experience as a security officer, and he is a skilled handyman. He is passionate about learning other languages and very curious about other cultures and exploring new places. Having recently relocated to the United States, Sandro made his American dream finally come true! He is excited to have the opportunity to live in an innovative and multicultural environment such as San Francisco and still be able to maintain his connection to his Italian heritage by working at La Scuola! He is the father of two young adults, Michael and Giada. You can find him on a Saturday afternoon riding his bike and enjoying sports and the outdoors.
Lidia Zuleta's picture

Lidia Zuleta

Preschool Custodian

K8 Faculty

Beatrice Penni's picture

Beatrice Penni

Kindergarten Teacher
Beatrice Penni's picture

Beatrice Penni

Kindergarten Teacher
Beatrice grew up in Firenze, where she fell in love with the Italian language and literature and the classics (Dante Alighieri was her first love). In 2014 she moved to Bay Area and she now lives in Emeryville with her husband. She joined Italingua in 2014 to teach Italian, and has been sharing her knowledge and passion for Italian language, culture, food. She has also been teaching Italian to elementary school children in Oakland, preparing her own curriculum and materials. While living in Italy she also worked for years for the Italian Scout association, helping as a leader for 6-9 years old children, which explains her natural connection to the children and ability to engage them. Beatrice holds an MA in Communications Science in 2010 from Università degli studi di Firenze and prior to moving to the USA she has worked in PR, as a journalist and in Marketing and Sales. In her free time she enjoys watching movies, reading, gardening veggies to prepare healthy recipes and playing the guitar.
Matthew Savereno's picture

Matthew Savereno

Kindergarten Teacher
& Spazio Gioco Teacher
Matthew Savereno's picture

Matthew Savereno

Kindergarten Teacher
& Spazio Gioco Teacher
Matthew was born and raised in central Pennsylvania and, like many at La Scuola, has family roots in Italy. During his time as an undergraduate at the Pennsylvania State University, Matthew traveled to Florence, Italy for a semester abroad in 2005. There, he fell in love with the culture, country, and language, and upon his return to the States decided to pursue a degree in Italian Language and Literature. During his time at the University, he was offered an opportunity to give Italian lessons to home-schooled students and thus discovered his passion for teaching. He also began what would be a long period of teaching swimming and music to children ages 3-15. After getting his Bachelors in 2008, Matthew took some time to travel and pursue his musical aspirations. Then, in 2013, Matthew returned to Florence to complete his Masters Degree in Italian Studies through Middlebury University and L’Università degli Studi di Firenze. His second experience living in Italy only fortified his connection to the culture and language, giving him an even stronger identity as a third-generation Italian-American. Now, having returned to the States, Matthew is thrilled to combine his passion for teaching children with his love for the Italian language and culture at La Scuola. In his free time, he enjoys exploring the California coastline, surfing, playing music, playing for a local soccer club, and experiencing all the beautiful things San Francisco and California has to offer.
Valentina Santacaterina's picture

Valentina Santacaterina

Kindergarten Teacher
Valentina Santacaterina's picture

Valentina Santacaterina

Kindergarten Teacher
Valentina holds a master in Clinical Psychology and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychological Studies from the Università degli studi di Bergamo Italy, with a specialization in Pedagogy, Sociology, Developmental psychology and Educational Psychology and also a Diploma Magistrale (teaching credentials) from Cooperativa scolastica Niccolò Reazzara. Valentina has taught for 6 years in Early Childhood centers (0-6 years of age) and as an assistant teacher for children with disabilities in an elementary school setting.
Valeria Koenigsberg's picture

Valeria Koenigsberg

Kindergarten Teacher
Valeria Koenigsberg's picture

Valeria Koenigsberg

Kindergarten Teacher
Valeria was born and raised in the Bay Area. The Italian language and culture has always been a major part of her life since her mom was born and raised in Bari, Italy and growing up she spent every summer with her family there. Being exposed to a second language and culture inspired her passion for learning languages, so she subsequently learned French and graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in French and a B.A. in Italian. During college she studied abroad in Bordeaux, France and after college she spent a year in Auch, France teaching English to high school and middle school students. Here she became fully immersed in the French culture and language and by the end of the year was fluent in French. She then decided to go to graduate school at UCLA and received an M.A. in Italian Studies. During this time she had the opportunity to teach Italian to undergraduates and was very happy to be able to share her knowledge of the language and culture with them. She just recently moved back to the Bay Area and is excited to start her teaching career at La Scuola, where she can share her love of everything Italian with a new generation. In her free time she likes to do ballet, paint, hike and spend time with family and friends.
Chiara Fornetti's picture

Chiara Fornetti

Grade 1 Teacher /Middle School Design Teacher & Educational Technology Coordinator
Chiara Fornetti's picture

Chiara Fornetti

Grade 1 Teacher /Middle School Design Teacher & Educational Technology Coordinator
Chiara grew up in the city of Torino, in the north west of Italy. She received her degree in Childhood Studies at the University of Torino in 2013. During her studies, she spent six months in England, where she improved her Childhood knowledge at the University of Bristol. After that Chiara decided to move to Munich (Germany) where she worked as Preschool Teacher and Team Leader until 2016. She enjoys spending time with children and she enjoys observing how children and teachers learn together. Chiara is passionate about new cultures and she loves to travel. She traveled all over the world and she can speak four different languages (Italian, English, German and French). She loves music, especially singing and playing the flute. She studied music for eleven years at the Music School “Giorgio Balmas” of Rivoli.
Justine Maycock's picture

Justine Maycock

Grade 1 Teacher
Justine Maycock's picture

Justine Maycock

Grade 1 Teacher
Justine was born and raised in Madison, WI. When she was 18, she went to Italy for the first time and fell immediately in love with Italy and the Italian language in the hills of Sorrento. She studied Italian in Bologna during her junior year of college and earned a BA and MA in Italian from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She needed to leave the cold winters of Wisconsin so she enrolled in and completed one year of the PhD program in Italian at Berkeley and has lived in CA ever since. After the birth of her first daughter, she discovered Waldorf education and became a trained Waldorf teacher. She began teaching as a first grade teacher in a Waldorf charter school in Orange County and during that time she earned a CA Teaching Credential. After moving back to the Bay Area she discovered a small Waldorf school in Walnut Creek and became one of the founding teachers working in early childhood. She discovered she loved working with preschool aged children and began taking classes in early childhood education. She was so excited when she discovered La Scuola where she can combine her love of early childhood education with her love of Italian. Justine is a life-long learner and is very interested in learning all about the Reggio-Emilia teaching philosophy and being a part of the La Scuola community.
Maura Andreghetti's picture

Maura Andreghetti

Grade 1 Teacher
Maura Andreghetti's picture

Maura Andreghetti

Grade 1 Teacher
Maura grew up in a little town near Ferrara. She graduated in Languages at Bologna’s University and in Pedagogy at Ferrara’s University. She taught English and German in a private school of languages for seven years and she taught every subject in a public elementary school for 22 years. During these years, she has led groups about “Linguistic Emercence”. She was part of a group which prepared standardized tests for each class of the Elementary school and she was trained to identify Dyslexia.

Maura is passionate about teaching and children. She keeps saying that her job is also her hobby, because she really enjoys the work she does. She believes in the importance of education and collaboration among teachers, parents and community. Maura is a book eater, loves traveling and being with her family. She also enjoys going to concerts, the theater and musicals. Her favorite book is Harry Potter, because there’s a lot of magic….in a school!!!
Eleonora Di Natale Stroud's picture

Eleonora Di Natale Stroud

Grade 1 Teacher
Eleonora Di Natale Stroud's picture

Eleonora Di Natale Stroud

Grade 1 Teacher
Eleonora was born in Legnano, a historical town located near Milan. Eleonora followed in the footsteps of a family of educators. Her grandfather was the director of education in Monza, Milan. Her aunts and uncles were all teachers, professors and directors of schools throughout Italy. Eleonora’s passion is working with elementary age students. She received her teaching credentials in Italy in 1993. Eleonora has taught in Public and Private schools, 1st through 5th grade. For the last 9 years, she has been a primary school teacher for a project based private elementary school in Busto Arsizio, Varese. After almost 20 years of educating young students in Italy, she moved to America to join her husband, a native of the Bay Area. For Eleonora teaching isn’t just a job, it is a vocation. She shares her passion for education with her students; she believes that when a teacher is passionate about teaching, students become passionate about learning. She strives to guide each individual student, helping them achieve their learning goals. For Eleonora, education is a gift of love, and a passion for life. Eleonora loves reading books on medieval history, biographies of historical figures, and world classical literature. She loves traveling with her husband across Europe and America and enjoys learning and meeting new people and discovering new cultures. She believes traveling helps make the world a better place by exploring the similarities we all share instead of seeing only the differences.
Elena Bianchi's picture

Elena Bianchi

Grade 1 Teacher
Elena Bianchi's picture

Elena Bianchi

Grade 1 Teacher
Elena is from Chianciano Terme, a small Tuscan town in the province of Siena. She graduated with honors in Primary Education at the University of Florence, where she was fortunate to come into contact with the philosophy of the Reggio Emilia Approach. She specialized in teaching Italian to foreigners with a level I master's degree. She began working as an Italian teacher at the Italian Scuola Italiana Paritaria in Lima, Peru, where she remained for two years. Later she returned to Italy and taught as a primary school teacher in Siena. Elena loves taking long walks and traveling around the world, but her biggest passion is music; in fact, she graduated from the Conservatory of Perugia with a diploma in music theory, with an emphasis study of the saxophone.
Sophie Wertz's picture

Sophie Wertz

Grade 2-3 Teacher
Sophie Wertz's picture

Sophie Wertz

Grade 2-3 Teacher
 

Sophie was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she attended a Spanish immersion elementary school. Her love and curiosity for languages and cultures different from her own began at a young age. On family trips and again as a college student, she visited Italy, falling in love with the art, history, cuisine, and the beautiful landscape. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Spanish at Gustavus Adolphus and enjoyed playing violin in the symphony orchestra. After college, Sophie taught fourth grade at the American School in El Salvador in addition to earning her Masters degree in International Education from Framingham University. Sophie eagerly returned to Italy, where she explored her passion for the Italian language while teaching third grade at the International School in Genoa. During her time there, Sophie immersed herself into the Genovese culture by playing on a calcio team, taking cooking classes, and expanding her perspective of Italian education. As an educator, Sophie believes her role is to foster a love of learning by encouraging student’s curiosity, problem solving skills and sense of compassion for the world around them.
Leticia Rocha-Dias's picture

Leticia Rocha-Dias

IB-PYP Coordinator & Grade 2-3 Teacher
Leticia Rocha-Dias's picture

Leticia Rocha-Dias

IB-PYP Coordinator & Grade 2-3 Teacher
Leticia was born and grew up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Always curious about different cultures, she went to High School at an Italian international school based in her hometown and fell in love with the Italian culture. She graduated in Languages at the University of Minas Gerais, spending one year at King’s College London as an exchange student. In 2010, she was hired as a k-8 teacher at the same Italian international school where she studied, and taught Math, Science, Geography and History in Italian for first, second, third and fourth graders. ​Because of some very dear pupils, she engaged herself in research on learning disabilities, and invested time and resources to be a better teacher for them. Leticia moved to San Francisco in the Summer of 2015 to join the La Scuola team and to pursue a Master of Arts in International and Multicultural Education at the University of San Francisco.
Tim Cooper's picture

Tim Cooper

Grade 2-3 Teacher
Tim Cooper's picture

Tim Cooper

Grade 2-3 Teacher
Tim was born and raised in a small town in Independence, Oregon. His first real exposure to Italian culture and language was when he studied Italian 101 in 2006 at the University of Oregon which prompted him to study abroad in Macerata in 2007 to experience Italian cuisine, culture and history first-hand. After an extraordinary experience tasting delicious Italian food and visiting awe-inspiring sites such as the Roman Forums and hills of the Marche, he decided to get a B.A. in Italian language in addition to Sociology. Upon graduating in 2009, Tim set off for Vercelli, Piedmont to teach English to students ages 4 to 55 at private and public schools. His significant time spent working and traveling in Italy was an enriching and life-changing experience. He is excited to be able to share Italian language and culture with the children at La Scuola. In his free time he enjoys hiking, eating tacos, traveling, and watching his beloved Ducks of the University of Oregon.
Caterina Palumbo's picture

Caterina Palumbo

Grade 2-3 Teacher
Caterina Palumbo's picture

Caterina Palumbo

Grade 2-3 Teacher
Caterina was born in Catania, Italy.
She has got a Master’s Degree in Italian Modern Philology.
During her studies, Caterina further got a Master in Specific learning disabilities. To this regard
one of her last job, at Associazione Famiglia e Salute in Trieste (IT), gave her the opportunity to
apply what she learned: she worked as educator and mentor to children with learning differences
and emotional difficulties. That was a very important experience where her passion for children
grows a lot! She has been still keeping in touch with the children and co-workers.
Last January she took the great opportunity to move to California cause her husband’s postdoc in
Astrophysics at Stanford University.
During the last years she has focused her expertise in teaching Italian to foreigners and she has been
teaching at San Jose Learning Center and at Bechtel International Center at Stanford University
to some very popular Italian classes.
As a Sicilian, she loves the sea and the good food! Caterina, also, loves Art in all its form, from the
ballet to figurative art, from cuisine to music.
Her favorite quote is from Steve Jobs ”stay foolish, stay hungry”. This supports her in coping
choices and challenges.
Kori Neff's picture

Kori Neff

Grade 4 Teacher
Kori Neff's picture

Kori Neff

Grade 4 Teacher
Kori was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She studied fine arts at the
University of New Mexico and got her first taste of Italy while studying abroad. When
the opportunity arose Kori jumped at the chance to return to Italy as an Au Pair. It was
the time she really fell in love with the culture and the language. After her experience as
an Au Pair, Kori returned to Italy to marry and raise her children. Kori believes that she
would have found her way to teaching, but it was having her own children the
catalyst in her move into teaching. Kori returned to New Mexico to obtain her Masters
of Education and teaching credential. She has a whole-child approach to education
and has taught in a variety of settings in her 5 years of teaching. Kori has been in
California for two years and loves the Bay Area and everything it has to offer.
Andrea Raccagni's picture

Andrea Raccagni

Grade 4 Teacher
Andrea Raccagni's picture

Andrea Raccagni

Grade 4 Teacher
Andrea was born in Sarnico, a little and beautiful town located on the Lake Iseo. He graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences and then with a Master's Degree in Molecular Cell Biology. He worked as researcher and laboratory technician before embarking on the amazing path of teaching in 2008. He has been working as Math and Science teacher in the private and public Italian Middle School ever since. During this time he also covered some institutional roles as bullying and cyber bulling supervisor, digital educator and software-computer technician. He tried, as true Italian, to be a good soccer player and has played at semi-professional levels for about ten years. As he truly loves being with children he also coached youth soccer teams. In his spare time he enjoys playing with his beautiful two years old daughter, reading and hiking with his family and friends. As he firmly believes that "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take", he is very excited to have joined La Scuola community in this new adventure.
Travis Greenlee's picture

Travis Greenlee

Middle School Teacher
Travis Greenlee's picture

Travis Greenlee

Middle School Teacher
Travis Greenlee's main goal as an educator is to help students develop strong and meaningful relationships with the world around them. He comes to La Scuola after spending the last 18+ years teaching at a variety of schools in and around Washington DC, followed by a move to the Bay Area five years ago.  Travis brings a lot of experience with independent and progressive schools as a lead teacher, specialist, and head of school. He has a strong background in teaching at the middle and elementary levels in the classroom as well as outside as an Outdoor and Experiential Educator. Whether it be through Humanities, passion projects, movement or nature, Travis strives to instill a spirit of curiosity and wonder in all of his students.

Travis is a certified Wilderness First Responder, founder of the Citizen Superhero Project (a curricular program to teach citizenship and community leadership through the superhero archetype), and co-founder of ConserFest, an environmental summer music & arts festival in Rhode Island, started in 2007.  He earned a BA degree in English Literature with additional concentrations in Secondary Education, Spanish and Studio Art from Hobart & Williams Smith Colleges in upstate New York. Travis lives in San Francisco and enjoys outdoor adventure and travel, cooking, songwriting, storytelling, and yoga.
Melina Madrigal's picture

Melina Madrigal

Middle School Teacher
Melina Madrigal's picture

Melina Madrigal

Middle School Teacher
Melina hails from the ever-exciting city of Los Angeles, having spent most her time in Santa Monica. While earning her Bachelor’s in International Studies-Sociology at UCSD, Melina decided to study abroad in Italy and divided her year abroad between Siena and Bologna. She was immediately taken by all the beauty Italy has to offer through its language, culture, customs, history and, naturally, its cuisine. Upon returning to the States, she decided to continue her inquiry into italianistica and entered graduate school at UCLA. Melina dedicated her scholarly focus to gender studies in the Renaissance and completed her Ph.D. in Italian in 2013. She has over ten years’ experience working in education and language acquisition and speaks fluent Italian, Spanish, and French. She joins La Scuola after a sabbatical year of traveling the world and is excited to be part of the growing dynamic that drives La Scuola.
Neelam Khanduri's picture

Neelam Khanduri

Middle School Teacher
Neelam Khanduri's picture

Neelam Khanduri

Middle School Teacher
I was born and raised in India, I come to La Scuola International School with more than 19 years of teaching and administrative experience in International baccalaureate( IB) Schools. I have always had a passion for learning and this led to my decision to pursue a career in education. At the University in India, I obtained a Bachelor’s of  Science and Bachelor’s of Education degree. After teaching for a few years in an IB School in India, my husband Anoop and I decided to take our young daughter abroad and embarked in a career in international education. My daughter, Aditi, was raised abroad. She is the product of IB Schools and now pursuing her Management Degree in New Zealand.

My IB teaching experiences have taken me to many countries. I cherish my experiences working and learning at an IB world school in Jakarta, Indonesia and later at IB world School in Bangladesh. My journey in education has brought me to La Scuola. La Scuola International school is a vibrant school, with its talented teachers, motivated students and supportive parent community. I am very proud to be part of this learning organization.
Adam Zappa's picture

Adam Zappa

Dean of Students
& K8 Teacher
Adam Zappa's picture

Adam Zappa

Dean of Students
& K8 Teacher
Adam is a second generation Italian American from Oakland, California. His grandparents came to the United States from Frascineto, Calabria after WWII, though Adam's passion for Italian didn't begin until college. After studying abroad in Macerata & Ferrara, Adam graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor's in Italian Literature.  Following college, Adam lived in Saronno, Italy for two years, teaching English to Italians of all ages, and translating for private businesses.  In 2011, Adam returned to the Bay Area and began his career with La Scuola. Adam is also certified by the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) and is pursuing his Master in RP.  When not in the classroom or playing soccer with the kids, Adam can usually be found at home, in the kitchen, or on an adventure with his wife and dog, Milo.
Alice Titcomb's picture

Alice Titcomb

Recess Lead, Classroom Support and EC Teacher
Alice Titcomb's picture

Alice Titcomb

Recess Lead, Classroom Support and EC Teacher
Alice was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. After completing her Bachelor of Arts in teacher training in Oxford, she taught in a small village school, where she loved being involved with the music curriculum. Alice then moved to London, where she taught in an inner-city school in Peckham, South London. During this time, she taught a range of ages from 7-11, and was Head of grades 2-4 and specialized in school improvement and recess education and positive management techniques. She was inspired by the multi-cultural education in London and loves to travel, so didn't hesitate when offered the chance to move to San Francisco with her husband. When she heard about La Scuola, Alice was inspired by the Reggio Emilia/IB student-centered approach and is so excited to be part of the warm Italian community!
Annalisa Cesarini Shurman's picture

Annalisa Cesarini Shurman

Spanish and Italian Advanced Teacher
Annalisa Cesarini Shurman's picture

Annalisa Cesarini Shurman

Spanish and Italian Advanced Teacher
Annalisa was born in the beautiful Tuscany, near Florence,
where art, culture, long beaches, nature, and good food compete
to be the symbol of the Tuscan life-style. She is an enthusiastic
and highly committed educator, language specialist, translator,
interpreter, and a World Languages certified teacher of English,
Spanish, French, and Italian. Her cultural background is Italian,
French, Argentinian, and British. For this reason, she became a
polyglot at a very young age, developing a strong curiosity and
passion for everything that concerns learning and speaking
multiple languages, as well as working and living across
cultures. Annalisa’s main goal as an educator is to give her
students a chance to be informed and involved global citizens
who truly embrace our multicultural nature, fostering good
relationships with their inner and outer worlds.
With a positive disposition, and a strong passion for Modern
Foreign Languages and Language Arts, Annalisa has always
enjoyed teaching them, especially through literature. She comes
to La Scuola after training for and teaching at the middle school
and high school levels, for schools in Italy, Spain, U.K., and for
international schools in China. This global dimension of her
career shaped her into an expert in applying the most
progressive and innovative educational approaches while also
promoting local involvement.
Her bachelor’s degree in Modern Foreign Languages and her
Post Graduate Course in Education, together with her globe
trotter nature and fresh international perspective make her the
ideal international facilitator in helping her students to embrace
their true global citizenship.
Janelle Spanier's picture

Janelle Spanier

Social Emotional Learning Specialist
Janelle Spanier's picture

Janelle Spanier

Social Emotional Learning Specialist
For almost two decades, Janelle has been sharing her passion as a health wellness educator by implementing human development programs with private independent schools in both SF Bay Area and Los Angeles. With a Masters of Arts in Education from Pepperdine University and an advanced certification in Yoga (E-RYT), she created a holistic approach to teaching mindful movement and health wellness which lead her to create, develop, and teach the popular course "Lifestyle Fitness Challenge: 10 weeks to a healthier you” at Stanford University. She continues to stay committed to enriching the lives of her students by providing practical applications of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills that empower them to positively transform their lives and their communities. 

Janelle was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. At the age of 14, her mother took her on their first trip to Italy to meet their relatives and study the Italian language in Perugia for a summer. That very special experience ignited her lifelong fascination with the Italian culture. Since then Janelle has returned to Italy several times. Her most memorable visits include: studying abroad in Florence for 6 months; teaching yoga and meditation in Umbria and Liguria during her summer breaks, and an autumn visit in Florence to complete her first marathon. She hopes to continue to make many more visits in the future and continue to share her love for Italia with her son.
Peter Kim's picture

Peter Kim

PreK-8 Learning Specialist
Peter Kim's picture

Peter Kim

PreK-8 Learning Specialist
Peter Kim grew up in Lincoln, Massachusetts near Walden Pond. He earned his bachelors in East Asian studies from Oberlin College and his masters in early childhood education and special education from Teachers College - Columbia University. Peter believes in promoting life long learners by fostering risk taking and reflective thinking. He previously taught ESL in Majeong Elementary School in South Korea and worked as a kindergarten and third grade special education teacher at Heketi Community Charter School in the Bronx, NY. He was introduced to La Scuola during his most recent employment as the program director for Culinary Artistas, a creative cooking school for children in San Francisco. For the past 2 years, he has taught cooking classes at La Scuola's preschool and elementary school campus. Peter is excited to immerse himself in the Reggio Emilia approach and is thrilled to work with so many passionate and talented teachers and staff.

Outside of teaching, Peter enjoys playing music (Baroque recorder, piano), working on animation, and creating online broadcasts.
Mark Mackbee's picture

Mark Mackbee

Physical Education Teacher

Special Subject Teachers

Megan Anzuini's picture

Megan Anzuini

Prek Environmental and Science Teacher
Megan Anzuini's picture

Megan Anzuini

Prek Environmental and Science Teacher
Megan grew up in Los Angeles, California, but has a strong background in Italian. Her father was born and raised in Rome and she spent much of her childhood visiting her family in Italy. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Education. In addition to her degree, Megan spent two years studying the Italian language at the university. After graduating, Megan moved to the Bay Area to pursue a career in garden-based environmental education. She has had over five years of experience working with students of all ages in various school settings. Working with children has always been one of her greatest passions and she is eager to combine this with her pride and interest in Italian language and culture.
Vincenzo Muro''s picture

Vincenzo Muro'

Preschool Music Teacher
Vincenzo Muro''s picture

Vincenzo Muro'

Preschool Music Teacher
Vincenzo was born in Pisa, Italy, spent his childhood between the “Leaning Tower”, the beautiful Island of Elba, and the fascinating city of Palermo, Sicily. Vincenzo then moved to the Dolomites, in north of Italy, where he received his Teacher-Training School Magisterial Diploma. Following his diploma, he started to work as a preschool educator for the Trento School District. In 2000, Vincenzo relocated to San Francisco, where he married, and received the best gift ever, his daughter. In addition to teaching in Italy, Vincenzo has taught in a variety of settings in the Bay Area, including Miraloma Educational Enrichment Program, Primo Programma, and the Ring Mountain Day School.  In 2005, Vincenzo discovered LPSI where he found that being able to teach children in his own native language as a blessing.  At LPSI, Vincenzo developed a deeper understanding of his approach to early childhood. After a break to be a new dad and graphic designer, Vincenzo made the decision to get back ‘home” and work at the new La Scuola location. Besides his Teacher-Training School Magisterial Diploma, Vincenzo is a qualified preschool teacher.  Vincenzo’s love and passion for being around and teaching children are the main reasons why he became a teacher. Besides teaching, Vincenzo loves listening and playing music, songwriting, playing the guitar and the Celtic Harp, composing music, music recording, creating sound effects for films, studying ethnic musical instruments, history, traveling, and exploring other cultures.
Serena Morelli's picture

Serena Morelli

Prek Atelierista
Serena Morelli's picture

Serena Morelli

Prek Atelierista
Serena was born and raised in Napoli where she obtained her first MA in Italian Literature. Dreaming of being a teacher, she always combined her life as a student at the University with a job as a teacher, focused on wanting to participate in the process of growth and formation of children and adolescents. Her mother was an elementary teacher for 39 years and Serena was her assistant for ten years while she was also tutoring junior and high school students in Italian grammar and literature, Latin, history and philosophy. Her second MA in Cultural European Policies brought her to live and study in Germany and in Spain. There she started to study photography too. Back to Italy, she worked as production photographer and event manager for many cultural and artistic events which shaped the way she teaches today. She realized that there was a great need to integrate the curriculum with art, science and global tolerance. In 2012 she moved to California and in the last year she has been teaching classes of Italian language, culture, food and wine for adults. La Scuola is a great opportunity for her to start working again with children.  
Silvia Bagnacani's picture

Silvia Bagnacani

K8 Atelierista
Silvia Bagnacani's picture

Silvia Bagnacani

K8 Atelierista
Silvia is from Reggio Emilia and has volunteered at one of the region’s famous preschools. She graduated from the University of Bologna, Disciplines of Arts, Music and Performance. In 2004 she moved to Rome where she completed her Master of Arts in Critic, Curatorial and Museum Studies at Museo Laboratorio, University “La Sapienza” and her second Master in Management for Curator of Art and Architecture Museums at Valle Giulia, “La Sapienza”. She has always been passionate about visual arts, music, photography, cinema and theater and growing up she realized the importance of the connection between expressive languages and education. She has also worked as an intern with the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts as well as many galleries.
Ayesha Ercelawn's picture

Ayesha Ercelawn

K8 Environmental Studies Teacher
Ayesha Ercelawn's picture

Ayesha Ercelawn

K8 Environmental Studies Teacher
Ayesha has over 12 years experience working with children in a Reggio-inspired San Francisco public school and was therefore thrilled to join the community at La Scuola. She has run a garden program for children from toddlers through 5th grade for many years, has consulted at schools in setting up garden programs, and led teacher workshops on nature play and art with natural materials. She is passionate about the natural world and delighted to share it with young children, getting to see it through their eyes while also nudging them to take a closer and different look themselves. She holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and an undergraduate degree in Art History and Chemistry. After various jobs in the non-profit environmental field, she luckily discovered the joys of teaching kids when volunteering at the Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park. She loves to travel and has made several trips to northern Italy. Her own childhood was spent in Pakistan, so she speaks Urdu, her father’s tongue, and also has a working knowledge of Spanish. The children are helping her develop her Italian vocabulary, with essential words such as ‘lumache!’ In her free time, she gardens at home (yes, unstoppable!), hikes and goes camping. Ayesha also loves good fiction, foreign films, Cuban salsa, acoustic music, knitting, and trying to understand her cat’s psychology.
Vanessa Luke's picture

Vanessa Luke

K-2 Music Teacher
Vanessa Luke's picture

Vanessa Luke

K-2 Music Teacher
 

Vanessa is a performer, singer, and teacher from Santa Barbara, California. She earned degrees in Acting, English, Performance Studies and Cultural Anthropology and has lived and performed as a singer since in Buenos Aires, Paris, Oxford, New York and Oakland. Vanessa relishes teaching mindfulness and inter-group empathy skills, which she did at the UCLA School of Public Health for 6 years, and expanded her facilitation to non-profits and young students. She finds joy teaching and learning from littlest ones, and has spent the last 3 years teaching music, mindfulness, and expressive dance to children (and the child-like) throughout the Bay Area. 
 
Carlo Dean's picture

Carlo Dean

3-8 Music Teacher
Carlo Dean's picture

Carlo Dean

3-8 Music Teacher
Carlo was born in New York City and raised in New York and New Jersey. He received his Bachelors in Music from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and his M.F.A. in Music Composition from the California Institute of the Arts. Carlo has been teaching both in the classroom and privately for 15 years, with experience teaching all grade levels and special education. In addition to his classroom teaching, he currently maintains a private teaching studio of 60 students, has composed music for film, theater and dance, and regularly has his concert music performed. Carlo’s daughter is in her third year at La Scuola and she never wants to leave. Carlo is excited to be teaching such a wonderful group of children at the start of La Scuola!

Preschool Faculty

Elisa Benassi's picture

Elisa Benassi

Grandi Arancioni Head Teacher
Elisa Benassi's picture

Elisa Benassi

Grandi Arancioni Head Teacher
Elisa was born in Milan and grew up in a small town in the countryside. She studied languages in high school then attended an Early Childhood Education course at university. She has been working with children for twelve years and she enjoys spending time with them, listening to their stories and discovering their points of view. She worked for three years at Nido Scuola Clorofilla, a preschool in Milan that collaborates with Reggio Children, where she had the chance to deepen her knowledge of the Reggio Approach to education. She visited Reggio Emilia and its schools and attended a workshop about digital languages at the Loris Malaguzzi International Center. Elisa loves to travel and discover new cultures, traditions and foods. She visited San Francisco when her sister was living there and she fell in love with this amazing city! 
Sara Ninivaggi's picture

Sara Ninivaggi

Grandi Arancioni Head Teacher
Sara Ninivaggi's picture

Sara Ninivaggi

Grandi Arancioni Head Teacher
Sara was born and raised in Ancona, Italy. After receiving her diploma in Social and Educational Psychology in 2004, she immediately started working as a kindergarten and preschool teacher in a number of social structures and kindergartens in the Province of Ancona. Since then she has been working as early childhood teacher for more than 10 years in Italy and in other European countries. In early 2012 she moved to Munich (Germany) where she worked in the Children’s House Doppiomondo e.V. which is an Italian-German institute that follows the Reggio-Emilia method. Here, besides extensively experiencing the Reggio-Emilia method, she was also exposed to a bilingual and bi-cultural environment that allowed her to further refine and specialize her professional skills. In late 2016 she moved to Cheltenham (UK) where she worked as an Italian preschool teacher in a multi-lingual school. Sara and her husband recently moved to California with the enthusiasm to meet and experience yet another new culture and new people. Sara is very curious and creative. In particular she loves acting and singing, activities that she did for more than 12 years as a member of a theatre company where she enjoyed performing original musicals and theatre shows.
Stefano Fabro's picture

Stefano Fabro

Grandi Arancioni Assistant Teacher
Stefano Fabro's picture

Stefano Fabro

Grandi Arancioni Assistant Teacher
Stefano was born and raised in a small town near Milan. After graduating in Early Childhood Education, he immediately started working with children, after many years of volunteering. He worked as a teacher at a primary school with children with special education needs, in a preschool and last year he worked at another Reggio Approach preschool, where he learned to work with the Reggio Approach. He graduated in Pedagogical Sciences this past July.

Stefano enjoys theater and acting, reading, and discovering new restaurants around the city.
Chiara Spaggiari's picture

Chiara Spaggiari

Grandi Azzurri Head Teacher
Chiara Spaggiari's picture

Chiara Spaggiari

Grandi Azzurri Head Teacher
Chiara completed her B.A. in Art at the University of Turin (Università degli studi di Torino). Chiara worked with the Ivaldi/Mercuriati Theatre Company supervising the organization of theater performances and workshops in many different schools, working directly with children. She has worked with young children as a painting and drama teacher and with teenagers teaching art history and literature. Chiara’s passions include Greek theater, mythology and going for walks with her puppy.
Danait Tezare's picture

Danait Tezare

Grandi Azzurri Head Teacher
Danait Tezare's picture

Danait Tezare

Grandi Azzurri Head Teacher
Originally from Asmara, Eritrea, Danait recently moved to the United States. After attending an Italian school majoring in Linguistics and Literature, her teaching experience started as a home tutor for children who had difficulties coping at school, then she became a preschool head teacher while giving evening classes at Alliance Française d'Asmara as a French language teacher for children as well as parents.

As she experienced teaching with different age groups, her favorite became preschool age. It’s that age where you can develop the characteristics that will shape the child. She fell in love with their pure imagination and creativity and loved stimulating and exploring it. She feels responsible to protect and honor this magical time in a child’s life. She believes that every child is competent and capable as long as we meet each child where they are and cultivate confidence in them.

She herself attended a Reggio Emilia school and now truly understands this approach it’s the best way of building a foundation in child’s life. In her culture, children are raised under a strong influence of their parents, therefore school was where children could explore and express themselves, almost like a second home - a place of comfort and nurture.
Josephine Osei's picture

Josephine Osei

Grandi Azzurri Assistant Teacher
Josephine Osei's picture

Josephine Osei

Grandi Azzurri Assistant Teacher
Josephine Osei is originality from Ghana-Accra, West Africa. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two lovely sons.

She has a Bachelors in Human Development from Cal State East Bay University and a AA degree in Early Childhood Development from Chabot College. She speaks five languages: Twi her native language, French, English, Italian, and Spanish. Her parents believed in Bilingualism, therefore, they enrolled her as a young child in French emersion International schools in Ghana-Accra and in Ivory Coast-Abidjan. In 1998, she moved to Brescia, Italy for two years to explore Italian culture and language.

She is a passionate teacher and has been teaching since 2002. She loves to work with young children and assist them in becoming competent in all areas of their development: physical, socio-emotional, cognitive, and creative, while also having lots of fun!

During her spare time is loves hiking, reading, cooking, and listening to music. Josephine is thrilled to be part of La Scuola!

 
Margarita Kasman's picture

Margarita Kasman

Grandi Verdi Head Teacher
Margarita Kasman's picture

Margarita Kasman

Grandi Verdi Head Teacher
Margarita started working with kids when she was studying language and culture in Perugia, Italy. She worked as a volunteer in Caritas Internationalis (a global organization responding to humanitarian disasters and promoting human development) as a Spanish-Italian translator for immigrants and their children to help them with medical, immigration, and other life needs. After studying and working in Italy for several years, Margarita moved to California where she has been working with children for over five years.  Margarita is currently studying child development at San Francisco City College and is happy to be part of La Scuola. In her free time, Margarita enjoys the outdoors, cooking, dancing, and spending time with her husband, family, and friends.
Valentina Zerbini's picture

Valentina Zerbini

Grandi Verdi Head Teacher
& Spazio Gioco Teacher
Valentina Zerbini's picture

Valentina Zerbini

Grandi Verdi Head Teacher
& Spazio Gioco Teacher
Valentina was born in Erbusco, a small town outside Brescia, immersed in the beautiful wine region of Franciacorta. She earned a BA in “Sciences and Technologies of the Arts and Entertainment” from Universita’ Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Brescia and an education in “Radio/Video Production” from City College of San Francisco. While studying in San Francisco, she worked as family assistant for several families around the city taking care of children of all ages and she is still in touch with all of them. She returned to Italy in 2011 and went back to Universita’ Cattolica in Brescia to take a specialization course in “Education Planning: In, With and For the Environment”. Valentina carries a deep passion for food, traveling and exploring new cultures. After a couple of years in Italy working as a freelance video translator she just returned to San Francisco and she is excited to be working with the children of La Scuola.
Megan Reed's picture

Megan Reed

IB-PYP Early Years Coordinator & Grandissimi Azzurri Head Teacher
Megan Reed's picture

Megan Reed

IB-PYP Early Years Coordinator & Grandissimi Azzurri Head Teacher
Megan was born and raised in Menlo Park, California — a true Bay Area native. She attended UCLA for her undergraduate degree, studying International Development and Italian. Her desire for an authentic, full-immersion study abroad experience led her to the charming medieval town of Ferrara. Megan's several months in “la città delle biciclette” solidified her lifelong love of the Italian language and culture. Upon returning to Los Angeles, Megan worked with Garden School Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to providing an interdisciplinary program of education through garden-based learning in outdoor living classrooms. Megan is deeply excited to be a part of La Scuola’s family and integrate her passions of interactive learning, being outdoors, and of course, Italian!
Alice Merli's picture

Alice Merli

Grandissimi Azzurri Head Teacher
& Preschool Technology Coordinator
Alice Merli's picture

Alice Merli

Grandissimi Azzurri Head Teacher
& Preschool Technology Coordinator
Alice was born and raised in the suburbs of Milan. She studied at Università Cattolica, from which she obtained two master’s degrees: one in “Primary Education” and one in “Early Childhood Education”. During her studies, she also trained as a special education teacher. She worked for one year in a daycare and, after graduation, she became head teacher in an elementary school, where she also had the opportunity to work on the inclusion of children with special needs. She moved to the United States with her husband in 2016 and she is excited to meet people with diverse backgrounds, as she loves being exposed to different perspectives. She firmly believes that one of the most valuable virtues is kindness and therefore she tries to inspire children to nurture it. Alice is an extremely curious person and an avid learner; her hobbies include dance, theater, DIY projects, and reading.
Martina Valizzone's picture

Martina Valizzone

Grandissimi Azzurri Assistant Teacher
Martina Valizzone's picture

Martina Valizzone

Grandissimi Azzurri Assistant Teacher
Martina was born and raised in Rome, Italy.

She attended the University of Rome Sapienza where she earned her Bachelor and Master Degree in Developmental Psychology. After graduating, she studied to become a family therapist while working for five years as Special Educator in ECE and high school settings, assisting students with special needs.
In 2018 Martina moved to the Bay Area and perfectioned her studies at City College of San Francisco, focusing on Early Childhood Education and Special Education.
In her free time Martina enjoys spending time with her friends, reading, drawing, hiking and travelling. 

During weekends you can probably find her exploring new coffee shops trying to find the best “cappuccino e cornetto” of the Bay Area.
Silvia Ianniciello's picture

Silvia Ianniciello

Grandissimi Verdi Head Teacher
Silvia Ianniciello's picture

Silvia Ianniciello

Grandissimi Verdi Head Teacher
Silvia was born in Rieti, a small medieval town in the center of Italy. She received her Master Degree in Philosophy and Aesthetic Studies at La Sapienza University of Rome in 2012. After her graduation she spent two years in Northern Europe, between Berlin and Vienna, nurturing her passion for analog photography. When the cold weather finally won against her spirit, she decided to look out for sunnier shores, which eventually led her to her great adventure in California. According to Silvia, her career in Early Childhood Education is the biggest adventure of her entire life. She is an eager regular student at the San Francisco City College, where she keeps expanding her knowledge in Education especially with Children with Special Needs. She firmly believes that creativity needs curiosity and courage. That is why she is constantly excited to be surrounded by the children and the amazing coworkers she found at La Scuola. Silvia deeply loves Art in all its forms, traveling with her husband Alessandro, being exposed to diversity, cooking and crafting.

Ambra Leggieri's picture

Ambra Leggieri

Grandissimi Verdi Head Teacher
Ambra Leggieri's picture

Ambra Leggieri

Grandissimi Verdi Head Teacher
Ambra comes from Rho, a small city near Milano. She graduated with honors in Early Childhood Education. After that she began working immediately with the Reggio Emilia approach: she worked for two years at Nido Scuola Clorofilla in Milano, and the past years at Nido Scuola Jacarandà. During these experiences she had the possibility to work with Reggio Children  to deepen her knowledge about childhood and the Reggio Emilia Approach.
Ambra loves dancing, cooking and reading.She hopes to share these passions with all her students!
Daniela Anzuini's picture

Daniela Anzuini

Grandissimi Verdi Assistant Teacher
Nora Buxareu's picture

Nora Buxareu

Grandissimi Arancioni Head Teacher
& Professional Development Specialist
Nora Buxareu's picture

Nora Buxareu

Grandissimi Arancioni Head Teacher
& Professional Development Specialist
Nora grew up in Barcelona, Spain, she moved first to France and then to Italy pursuing her passion for art and then settled in Florence for ten years where she received her Degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Florence in 2016. During her time in Florence she specialized in Progressive education with C.E.M.E.A Association with whom she worked as an educator and teacher trainer for seven years. Following her curiosity in human psychology she received her Diploma in Gestalt and Art Therapy Counseling in 2015. Nora believes learning from different cultures and contexts is vital to create quality education so she’s traveled all over the world visiting schools and attending courses (from Reggio Emilia approach to Montessori, Forest schools, International and Democratic schools...). Nora is very creative and loves painting, drawing, sewing and DIY. Her biggest treasure is her Picture books library. 
Camilla Fusar Poli's picture

Camilla Fusar Poli

Grandissimi Arancioni Head Teacher
& Preschool Extended Care Coordinator
Camilla Fusar Poli's picture

Camilla Fusar Poli

Grandissimi Arancioni Head Teacher
& Preschool Extended Care Coordinator
Camilla was born in Milan, Italy. She studied Social Pedagogical Sciences in high school then she graduated in Early Childhood Education course at University of Milan.

After a year working in a Preschool she decided to further her studies with a Master's degree in Pedagogical Sciences. During this Master she decided to enroll in the Erasmus program (study abroad) at University of Oslo to get to know the Scandinavian education. This significant experience led her to embrace different cultures, multicultural education and people all over in the world. After returning to Italy she worked for two years at Nido Scuola Clorofilla, a Reggio Preschool in Milan, and became familiar with the Reggio approach. She deepened her understanding by attending workshops and training about digital languages at the Loris Malaguzzi International Centre.

She loves traveling, cooking Italian food and hosting dinners with friends.
Ilaria Anselmi's picture

Ilaria Anselmi

Grandissimi Arancioni Assistant Teacher
Ilaria Anselmi's picture

Ilaria Anselmi

Grandissimi Arancioni Assistant Teacher
Ilaria comes from a small town in the province of Brescia, near the renowned Franciacorta wine area.

After a Bachelor's Degree in Interior Design, she obtained a Master's Degree in Architecture, both at the Politecnico di Milano.

After a few years in the field of architecture she entered the world of teaching. For two years she worked simultaneously as an architect and as a teacher, but being with children, she fell in love with teaching and decided to do just that.

Ilaria has taught art and technical drawing, as well as supported students with special needs. Her husband Andrea is a teacher as well, and together they decided to move to San Francisco with their little daughter. 

She has loved to sing since she was a child, and has been part of small theater companies and of rock-pop bands in Italy. Sewing is also one of her great passions, and she enjoys making garments for her daughter and herself. 

Ilaria is very excited to be part of the La Scuola team and hopes to share her creativity.
Teresa O'Connor's picture

Teresa O'Connor

Prek Floater Teacher
Teresa O'Connor's picture

Teresa O'Connor

Prek Floater Teacher
Teresa O’Connor hails from the state of Wisconsin, and moved to San Francisco – by way of Boston – twenty plus years ago. She earned her BA in Painting from San Francisco State University, and has spent many of her years working in the visual arts field in various capacities – teacher, curator, maker, and gallery owner. More recently, she has shifted towards her lifelong interest in gardening and growing edibles, and created a garden education program at Clarendon Elementary School. She is excited to begin growing and learning with the children at La Scuola, and developing her Italian speaking skills along the way! Teresa lives in San Francisco with her two children, Zazie and Finn, where they enjoy spending their free time hiking and exploring with their dog Bella.