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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

Director of Early Childhood & Grades K-3
Federica Lentini's picture

Federica Lentini

Director of Early Childhood & Grades K-3
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.
Douglas Lowney's picture

Douglas Lowney

Director of Middle School & Grades 4-5
IB-MYP Coordinator
Douglas Lowney's picture

Douglas Lowney

Director of Middle School & Grades 4-5
IB-MYP Coordinator
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.
Sally Peterson's picture

Sally Peterson

Director of Teaching & Learning
Sally Peterson's picture

Sally Peterson

Director of Teaching & Learning
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.
Dani Sollberger's picture

Dani Sollberger

Director of Administration
Pandemic Coordinator
Dani Sollberger's picture

Dani Sollberger

Director of Administration
Pandemic Coordinator
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.
Robin Bonaso's picture

Robin Bonaso

Director of Advancement
Robin Bonaso's picture

Robin Bonaso

Director of Advancement
Robin is one of the founding Leadership Team Members of La Scuola. She previously worked for La Scuola from 2011-18 as the Director of Administrations and Operations and has both helped and observed the school flourish over the past decade. As a fluent Italian speaker, Robin is inspired by lifelong learning and believes absolutely in the power of bilingual education. She has lived the past two years in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two children, who also enjoyed many wonderful years at La Scuola. They are moving back to the Bay Area this summer. Robin earned her Bachelor of Arts, Italian Language & Cultural Studies at the University of Colorado and is a graduate of IULM, University of Languages and Communication in Milan, Italy. She is also a certified Barre Instructor for The Dailey Method.
Elisa Leonardi's picture

Elisa Leonardi

Director of Facilities & Grounds and Parificazione Coordinator
Elisa Leonardi's picture

Elisa Leonardi

Director of Facilities & Grounds and Parificazione Coordinator
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.
Serdar Orazov's picture

Serdar Orazov

Chief Financial Officer
Serdar Orazov's picture

Serdar Orazov

Chief Financial Officer
Serdar Orazov has an extensive background in education finance and accounting. Prior to joining the La Scuola team, he served at different secondary and higher educational institutions at various financial leadership roles. Most recently, he served as Chief Financial Officer at Magnolia Public Schools. He is a lifelong education supporter. He attended a language immersion school. He speaks four languages and is very enthusiastic about learning Italian.

Serdar is a huge soccer fan and loves to play himself. He likes traveling and enjoys going on road trips with his family. In his free time, he volunteers at local non-profit organizations to help further their mission.
Nichole Leon's picture

Nichole Leon

Director of Admissions
Nichole Leon's picture

Nichole Leon

Director of Admissions
Nichole has a deep love for the Reggio Emilia pedagogy and is passionate about learning environments where children are given the opportunity to explore, investigate and develop critical thinking skills. She comes to La Scuola from Bright Horizons, where she worked since 2012 as a site director, and most recently as an education & training specialist. Nichole’s teaching in Early Childhood and Kindergarten classrooms for more than 20 years is a welcomed addition to our talented La Scuola team.

Nichole earned her B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development from San Francisco State University and her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Studies (Administration, Management and Leadership) from Walden University. She was born and raised in the City’s Bayview District, and in her spare time, Nichole enjoys movie nights and spending time with her husband Julio, and their daughter, Elaiyah. Spontaneous dancing happens quite regularly in their home!
Paola Barberi's picture

Paola Barberi

Associate Director of Admissions
Paola Barberi's picture

Paola Barberi

Associate Director of Admissions
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!
Joel Danoy's picture

Joel Danoy

Communications & Marketing Manager
Joel Danoy's picture

Joel Danoy

Communications & Marketing Manager
Joel Danoy comes to La Scuola after more than 7 years of managing communications for independent and public schools in California following a career as a newspaper reporter in Virginia, where he was born and raised. As a reporter, Joel covered city government, crime and courts, school boards, and education before moving to California from Virginia to be the managing editor local newspaper in 2011. Joel is an avid backpacker and outdoorsman who enjoys exploring the Sierra, with favorite spots in Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, and the John Muir Trail.

Joel lives in San Francisco with his wife, Jacqui, an SF native, and graduated from West Virginia University with a BS in Journalism. He enjoys building community with storytelling that connects people through their experiences and interests, so please don't be shy about sharing a good story by emailing him at joel.danoy@lascuolasf.org.
Giulia Sinigagliesi's picture

Giulia Sinigagliesi

EA to Head of School, Middle School Campus Manager & Administrative Coordinator
Giulia Sinigagliesi's picture

Giulia Sinigagliesi

EA to Head of School, Middle School Campus Manager & Administrative Coordinator
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.

 
Savannah Armstrong's picture

Savannah Armstrong

Elementary Office & Campus Manager
Savannah Armstrong's picture

Savannah Armstrong

Elementary Office & Campus Manager
Although she hails from Boston, Savannah has found a home in many pockets of the world after completing her BA in Sociology and Psychology from Framingham State University. Along the way to becoming a global citizen, after visiting 35+ countries and working in Youth Development and teaching ESL for over a decade, she received a Master’s degree in International Peace, Conflict & Development in Spain. Her calling lies in community building through education, which is why she was drawn towards La Scuola and is excited to be setting down new roots in the Bay Area by joining the team. When she is not wearing her social justice and community-building career hat, Savannah loves to be outdoors, spend time with friends and family, travel to new places and try new cuisines while checking out the local her/history and art culture. While at home, you can also find her curled up with a good book or belting out some old blues tunes.
Cristina Nicolosi's picture

Cristina Nicolosi

Preschool Campus Manager and Communications Coordinator
Cristina Nicolosi's picture

Cristina Nicolosi

Preschool Campus Manager and Communications Coordinator
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!
Laura Ladisa's picture

Laura Ladisa

Palo Alto Site Manager
Laura Ladisa's picture

Laura Ladisa

Palo Alto Site Manager
Laura was born and raised in Taranto, Italy, but her family later moved to Rome so she considers herself an adopted Roman. She studied Translation and Interpretation at the University of Bologna, and got her Master's degree in Conference Interpretation at the University of International Studies of Rome, specializing in English, Russian and Spanish languages. She worked as a freelance translator, interpreter, and language instructor for several years before arriving in the the US, where she started working as a Computational Linguist and later as a Linguist Manager in AI. Despite enjoying working on machine learning, children's learning is where her heart is at. After the birth of her daughter, her passion for children's education kept growing, together with her enthusiasm for bilingualism and language acquisition, and this is what brought her to La Scuola.

In her free time, Laura enjoys reading, learning new languages, hiking with her dog, cooking new fusion recipes, and playing out elaborate pretend games with her daughter.
Karen Herrera's picture

Karen Herrera

Assistant Controller
Karen Herrera's picture

Karen Herrera

Assistant Controller
Karen has several years of experience working in accounting and finance. She graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor's Degree in Economics. She was born and raised in Peru and moved to the Bay Area to complete her studies. She is a supporter of bilingual education and dual language exposure at a young age. 

In her free time, she loves exploring new trails to hike with her dog, trying new restaurants and spending time with family and friends. 
Wladymir Paiva's picture

Wladymir Paiva

Auxiliary Programs Director
Wladymir Paiva's picture

Wladymir Paiva

Auxiliary Programs Director
Born and raised in Brasília, Brazil, Wlad moved to São Paulo to earn his degree in Physical Education from Paulista University. During college, he worked with professional athletes in different sports ranging from soccer to formula one. In 2004, he came to the U.S. to participate in the professional cycling race ‘Race Across America’ (RAAM), and moved to San Francisco in that same year. Wlad enjoys exploring nature around the Bay Area as well as traveling to faraway destinations. He’s a sprout lover and a whitewater kayaking enthusiast. Heavily influenced by his Italian family, he loves to cook. And eat!

Auxiliary Staff

Elena Martinez's picture

Elena Martinez

Kitchen and Facilities Assistant
Franco Romero's picture

Franco Romero

Facilities Maintenance Technician
Katrina Valdez's picture

Katrina Valdez

Kitchen & Facilities Assistant
Katrina Valdez's picture

Katrina Valdez

Kitchen & Facilities Assistant
Katrina was born in Detroit, Michigan, and she is Filipino-American. She can't speak or understand Tagalog/Filipino and only went to the Philippines once for a family vacation when she was 7 years old. In her elementary years, her favorite children's book series are Amelia Bedelia, Nate the Great, Clifford, Little Critter, and Bernstein Bears. When she was 8, she moved to San Jose. 

Katrina graduated from the Academy of Art University, with a degree in fine art painting, and from 2014-2019 she had an art studio in art explosion studios located in Potrero Hill. When she has an artist block she goes to museums, and she paints abstract or doodle sketching.
Lidia Zuleta's picture

Lidia Zuleta

Kitchen & Facilities Assistant

K8 Faculty

Benedetta Liccardo's picture

Benedetta Liccardo

Elementary Teacher & IB Curriculum Developer
Benedetta Liccardo's picture

Benedetta Liccardo

Elementary Teacher & IB Curriculum Developer
Benedetta was born and raised in Rome, surrounded by a dynamic and challenging environment. Her passion for Italian heritage and culture grew stronger as she graduated in classical studies, with a special program in arts.

During her experience in the Italian Scout movement, she worked with kids from 8 to 14, embracing the belief that we ought to leave the world a little better than we found it. 

She has a bachelor's degree in Law and a Master's degree in Cultural Event Management. Lastly, she obtained the DITALS Certificate for teaching Italian to foreign speakers. She immediately felt at home in the Bay Area and she’s excited about teaching at La Scuola!

"I couldn’t have imagined a most beautiful and inspiring workplace than La Scuola! I am incredibly thrilled to join this community, from which I’m sure I’ll learn a great deal and to which I’ll give my best."
Matthew Savereno's picture

Matthew Savereno

Elementary Teacher
Matthew Savereno's picture

Matthew Savereno

Elementary 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.
Beatrice Penni's picture

Beatrice Penni

Elementary Teacher
Beatrice Penni's picture

Beatrice Penni

Elementary 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.
Valentina Santacaterina's picture

Valentina Santacaterina

Elementary Teacher
Valentina Santacaterina's picture

Valentina Santacaterina

Elementary 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.
Elena Bianchi's picture

Elena Bianchi

Elementary Teacher & K-5 Italian Language Coordinator
Elena Bianchi's picture

Elena Bianchi

Elementary Teacher & K-5 Italian Language Coordinator
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 enough to come in contact with the philosophy of 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 she taught as a primary school teacher in Siena. 

Then she decided to move abroad again and she arrived at La Scuola in 2019. During these years she specialized in IB methodology, taking a certification as IB teacher and curriculum developer. She also continued her specialization in teaching Italian to foreigners, organizing professional development for teachers at La Scuola in collaboration with Ca’ Foscari University in Venice. 

In addition, she took a master degree in “Psychopedagogy and Learning disabilities” at Rome University. She is currently an elementary teacher and IB curriculum developer and the K-5 Italian Language Coordinator at La Scuola. 

Elena loves taking long walks and traveling around the world, but her big passion is music: in fact, she graduated from Conservatory of Perugia with a diploma in music theory, with an emphasis in the study of the saxophone.
Megan Wagstaffe's picture

Megan Wagstaffe

Elementary Teacher
Megan Wagstaffe's picture

Megan Wagstaffe

Elementary Teacher
Megan grew up in Berlingame comes to La Scuola very excited to dive deeper into Reggio Emilia pedagogy! She is currently studying for her Early Childhood Educator & Primary Teacher certification and is passionate about the whole child approach. She is committed to being the best teacher and mentor she can be in the day-to-day life of her students and to cultivate a positive class environment. She has always had a love for Italian language and culture and spent time in Trento, Sicily and Rome studying and working while immersing herself into Italian life! She is ecstatic to be joining the La Scuola community to continue her journey with both Italian and Reggio and to become a brave learner alongside her students and colleagues. 
Claudia Canu Fautre's picture

Claudia Canu Fautre

Elementary Teacher
Claudia Canu Fautre's picture

Claudia Canu Fautre

Elementary Teacher
Claudia was born in Cagliari, capital of the region of Sardinia (Italy). She was raised in a French-Italian family and travelled all around Europe from an early age. She studied foreign languages in Italy and she completed two master degrees and a PhD in comparative literature (French, Italian, Spanish) at the Sorbonne in Paris. Her developed passion for languages and the importance of understanding cultural differences exude through her teaching style as she shares this passion for knowledge into the classroom.  


Claudia is the author of many books and articles, among them La Méditerranée se colore de noir ou le renouvellement du roman policier: Yasmina Khadra, Andreu Martin et Giorgio Todde recently published. 
Two years ago, she moved to San Francisco following her husband, a Bay Area native, with her three children. Willing to get to know the culture of Silicon Valley she worked in the Tech industry for a year as a Project Manager. Now she is very excited about working at La Scuola where plurilingualism and multiculturalism, as well as critical thinking and empathy are part of the core principles for our future generation. 

Personal Quote:

Being Italian, the Italian Community at La Scuola is like a home away from home. I think that the Reggio Emilia approach, along with the International Baccalaureate programme, offer the best learning environment for our children to become the responsible adults that will lead the future. What makes me the most excited about working at La Scuola is the ability of this environment to bring out the best in each student, and each teacher.    
Valeria Trapani's picture

Valeria Trapani

Elementary Teacher
Valeria Trapani's picture

Valeria Trapani

Elementary 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.
Tim Cooper's picture

Tim Cooper

Elementary Teacher
Tim Cooper's picture

Tim Cooper

Elementary 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.
Michela Di Perri Santo's picture

Michela Di Perri Santo

Elementary Teacher
Michela Di Perri Santo's picture

Michela Di Perri Santo

Elementary Teacher
Michela is a native of Sicily - she moved to the United States just in 2019. In her first couple of years in the States she had the privilege of teaching Italian to a wide range of students at many different ages and levels of comprehension. From private lessons to working at multiple private institutions, she has been able to share her passion of education and the Italian language with a multitude of students.

"I love bringing my passion for learning to the classroom and having the ability to pass this on to my students." 
Eleonora Di Natale Stroud's picture

Eleonora Di Natale Stroud

Elementary Teacher
Eleonora Di Natale Stroud's picture

Eleonora Di Natale Stroud

Elementary 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.
Leticia O'Sullivan's picture

Leticia O'Sullivan

Elementary & Middle School Teacher
IB-PYP Coordinator
Leticia O'Sullivan's picture

Leticia O'Sullivan

Elementary & Middle School Teacher
IB-PYP Coordinator
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.
Sophie Wertz's picture

Sophie Wertz

Elementary Teacher
Sophie Wertz's picture

Sophie Wertz

Elementary 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.
Angela Campanella's picture

Angela Campanella

Elementary & Middle School Teacher
Angela Campanella's picture

Angela Campanella

Elementary & Middle School Teacher
Born and raised in Puglia, the region you might know as the heel of the Italian boot, Angela moved to the Bay Area recently with her husband, a native Californian, and their son. She graduated in Literature and Philosophy from Naples University and holds a master’s degree in Italian Didactics from the University of Siena where she is currently studying for a master’s degree in Linguistics and Intercultural Communication. In addition, Angela is certified with DITALS I and DITALS II, the Certifications of Competence in Teaching Italian as a Foreign Language.

An inventive and passionate educator who aims to communicate Italy’s culture to her students, over the past twenty years, Angela’s teaching experiences have brought her around the world. Before coming to La Scuola in 2021, she taught Italian in China, Japan, Qatar, and the United States.

Fascinated by music and art, and impassioned by current events, especially those concerning the developing issues of countries and international political matters, Angela also enjoys reading, cooking, and watching movies.

Angela is excited about joining La Scuola and starting to be part of such a unique educational environment. 
Carmen Gomez's picture

Carmen Gomez

Middle School Teacher & MS Italian Language Coordinator
Carmen Gomez's picture

Carmen Gomez

Middle School Teacher & MS Italian Language Coordinator
Carmen was born in San Francisco and grew up between California and Arizona. After graduating from the University of San Francisco with a degree in International Business, Carmen moved to Tuscany where she worked in eno-gastronomic tourism and marketing for several years before returning to the States to pursue a Ph.D. in Italian literature and culture at the University of California, Los Angeles. Carmen spent over 10 years teaching Italian language classes of all levels, literature, and culture courses at La Scuola in 2013-14, within the UC system, and most recently as the Italian language coordinator at UC Davis. Carmen’s love of teaching begins with a love of learning – studying Italian in college was a way for her to reclaim her family’s heritage and explore new configurations of her own identity.
Jake Kaplove's picture

Jake Kaplove

Elementary & Middle School Teacher
Director of Student Activities
Jake Kaplove's picture

Jake Kaplove

Elementary & Middle School Teacher
Director of Student Activities
Jake grew up just outside San Francisco in Novato, Marin County. His interest in languages began in high school, where he studied Spanish for three years before traveling to Honduras for the summer with a program called Amigos de las Américas. While living with a family in a rural village, he taught health lessons at the community primary school and became immersed in the local culture. He realized the value of learning a language both inside and outside the classroom. Being a fluent Spanish speaker opened up opportunities to travel and create connections with people from diverse backgrounds. He was hooked. After completing a degree in Psychology and Spanish from Bates College, Jake went on to work as an English Teaching Assistant in Argentina on a Fulbright grant. In his free time, Jake can be found swimming in the waters of an aquatic park or adventuring through the mountains by ski, bike, or foot.
Melina Madrigal's picture

Melina Madrigal

Middle School Teacher & Director of DEI
Melina Madrigal's picture

Melina Madrigal

Middle School Teacher & Director of DEI
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.
Paula Rosado's picture

Paula Rosado

Middle School Teacher
Paula Rosado's picture

Paula Rosado

Middle School Teacher
Paula was born in the South of Spain in beautiful Seville, moving to the UK at age 18 and then to Singapore, the incredibly clean city, in 2014. She has a BA in Translation and Media and is qualified as a Modern Foreign Language teacher from the University of East Anglia. Having taught in 3 international schools, she is an inclusive, approachable, and motivational educator. Paula has taught Spanish from grades 2 to 12 in addition to adult lessons. Her fun, engaging lessons, and excellent relationship with technology make her a terrific teacher. She has also been part of English as an Additional Language team when teaching in London, and an advocate and Leader of the Service as Action core of the Middle Years Program. Paula loves the inquiry-based learning and holistic approaches of the IB in helping to shape rounded and incredible humans. She is really excited to join a school with Mediterranean vibes!
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. He previously taught ESL at 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 previous employment as the program director for Culinary Artistas, a creative cooking school for childhood in San Francisco. While at La Scuola, Peter works with students with special needs PreK-8. He has also taught Year 1 MYP humanities to Grade 6 and advised grade 8 through the high school admissions process.

Peter's tenets are clarity, documentation, and communication. His goal is to help students, teachers, and families reach their learning goals. 

Outside of teaching, Peter enjoys playing music, working on animation, and creating online broadcasts.

Special Subject Teachers

Eleonora Pellegrini's picture

Eleonora Pellegrini

Preschool - Grade 2 Music Teacher
Eleonora Pellegrini's picture

Eleonora Pellegrini

Preschool - Grade 2 Music Teacher
Eleonora Pellegrini was born in Florence (Italy), where at the age of 9 began studying the harp. Eleonora went on to earn a Bachelor's degree in Harp from the Conservatory of Music in Florence and a Master's in Harp from the Conservatory of Music in Parma. From 2011 to 2017 she performed with the Orchestra of the Royal Northern College of Music of Manchester during the Cantiere Internazionale d’arte of Montepulciano. For the past 10 years, Eleonora has been teaching classical and Celtic harp to children and adults.

In 2015 Eleonora completed her training to become a certified Music Learning Theory teacher. This approach focuses on the belief that music is like a language and therefore in order to become fluent children should be immersed in it early on. In 2018 she moved to Berkeley, California where she has been performing as a freelance harpist. She joined the 41st Street Quartet: a chamber ensemble that combines elements of jazz and classical music.
Alvaro Santoro's picture

Alvaro Santoro

Environmental Sciences & Garden Teacher
Alvaro Santoro's picture

Alvaro Santoro

Environmental Sciences & Garden Teacher
Alvaro grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he became a passionate environmental scientist. He spent the first years of his career working in underground water and soil remediation and as an environmental consultant. Eventually he became an analyst for Toyota Argentina where he was able to learn about green roof gardens and built his first thousand-square-foot roof garden at Toyota as a project to reduce the impact of the industry and as a green space for the community to enjoy and teach about gardening. This project encouraged him to move to Melbourne, Australia, for a year to travel and continue learning about this practice. Alvaro decided to move to the U.S. six years ago to pursue and nurture his passion for teaching kids and working as an Environmental Science Outdoor Educator. Helived in a community in the Marin Headlands, minutes away from San Francisco,teaching marine biology, geology, and cultural history, among other subjects, to middle and high school students by hiking and having meaningful and empowering outdoor experiences. Before joining La Scuola, he spent his days taking care of plants at the Native Plant Nursery of the National Parks and restoring habitats in the GGNRA. In his personal time, Alvaro loves to play guitar, rock climb and spend time immersed in nature.

" I am extremely excited to become a part of La Scuola’s community! It will be a great opportunity to continue empowering students and the community to be loving and kind stewards of the land and support their growth. I can’t wait to get started!"
Mario Rossetti's picture

Mario Rossetti

PE Teacher & Athletic Director
Mario Rossetti's picture

Mario Rossetti

PE Teacher & Athletic Director
Mario Rossetti grew up in the Bay Area and has spent the last 15 years working in the youth sports industry throughout the peninsula. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from San Francisco University and is currently completing two Master’s degrees, one in Athletic Administration and Coaching, and the other in Exercise Sciences. 

Coming from an Argentine family, soccer has always been a huge passion for Mario. “I’ve been around soccer my entire life, playing since I was four and played ODP Regional Team, Varsity Soccer in HS, Premier Club Soccer, College Soccer and one season in Third Division of Argentina’s professional league”. Most recently, Mario has been working as the Athletic Coordinator for International High School, in San Francisco, supporting both the middle and high school.

In addition to working with International High School in San Francisco, Mario has been involved with multiple schools and Physical Education organizations, developing curriculum, while teaching and overseeing their classes. Mario Rossetti’s number one priority is making sure that each student is being given the tools necessary to succeed. Former students that Mario has worked with would describe him as supportive, open, passionate, and driven to succeed.

"Coming from an Argentinian family, with strong roots in Italy, I am very excited to be a part of this community. I look forward to working closely with all at La Scuola, to make sure that we continue to bring the best possible experience for all of our students. I am a true believer in the value of communication, so if you ever want to chat, please feel free to connect with me."
Megan Reed's picture

Megan Reed

Early Childhood Environmental Science and Garden Teacher & IB-PYP Early Years Coordinator
Megan Reed's picture

Megan Reed

Early Childhood Environmental Science and Garden Teacher & IB-PYP Early Years Coordinator
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!
Jane Mauchly's picture

Jane Mauchly

International Baccalaureate (IB) Teacher, Art Specialist & Curriculum Developer
Jane Mauchly's picture

Jane Mauchly

International Baccalaureate (IB) Teacher, Art Specialist & Curriculum Developer
​​​​Jane Mauchly is a teaching artist who describes her own arts education beginning in her childhood living on a small family farm on the outskirts of an east coast city. She hails from a family of tinkerers and makers. Her father, a metal sculptor, founded an artist guild in an old granary, and Jane would immerse herself in this creative setting, absorbing the art processes and teachings of the craftspeople there. Also important to her is time spent traveling and in nature, and she turns to wild spaces as well as the human story to inform her work. She has been described as a social practice artist, with individual and collaborative projects involving storytelling, dance, mural- making, film, installation, and performance—grounded in community, the beauty of nature, and social and environmental justice.

Jane has a BFA in fine art from San Francisco State University. Her experiences include a year studying painting at L’ Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, a time which she considers a turning point in her life, the beginning of life-long friendships and appreciation for Italian language and culture. She misses fish fridays at Mario’s by mercato centrale and i dolci di Patrizio Cosi.

“I am excited about joining La Scuola, a community that embraces creative expression at its core, and look forward to exploring and creating beautiful art together.”
Chiara Fornetti's picture

Chiara Fornetti

Middle School Design Teacher, Ed Tech Coordinator & K-5 Maker Design Tech Educator
Chiara Fornetti's picture

Chiara Fornetti

Middle School Design Teacher, Ed Tech Coordinator & K-5 Maker Design Tech Educator
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.
Nora Buxareu's picture

Nora Buxareu

Atelierista & Art Studio Teacher Grades PreK - 3
Nora Buxareu's picture

Nora Buxareu

Atelierista & Art Studio Teacher Grades PreK - 3
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. 
Travis Greenlee's picture

Travis Greenlee

PE & Extended Care Teacher
Travis Greenlee's picture

Travis Greenlee

PE & Extended Care Teacher
 

Travis holds many years of experience as an upper elementary and middle school teacher focusing on humanities, P.E., and outdoor and experiential education in Independent Schools on the east and west coasts of the US.  With working experience in and commitment to the Reggio philosophy and interdisciplinary learning, Travis joins the La Scuola Middle School to teach Physical Education and extended care, and to develop interdisciplinary and experiential units of inquiry with the middle school team.
Carlo Dean's picture

Carlo Dean

Middle School and Grade 3- 5 Music Teacher & Director of Performing Arts
Carlo Dean's picture

Carlo Dean

Middle School and Grade 3- 5 Music Teacher & Director of Performing Arts
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

Saachi Dhingra's picture

Saachi Dhingra

Preschool Teacher
Saachi Dhingra's picture

Saachi Dhingra

Preschool Teacher
Saachi knew from her own preschool years that nurturing was a calling for her! After attending UCSC for Psychology/ Pre-Med with a focus on Child Psychology, she began working as an assistant teacher post-grad and has never looked back. The foundation of her career began while working for a government at-risk and inclusion program in Half Moon Bay that focused on bridging the socioeconomic gap in the community. After spending two years there, she moved on to delving into the early education scene in San Francisco and stumbled upon Reggio Emilia inspired teaching. She has become enamored with the Reggio philosophy of child driven learning and finds it to be in line with her own thoughts about working with children. Saachi has also focused on implementing yoga in all her classrooms to support social emotional development and regulation; she is certified by two yoga programs (Next Generation Yoga and Mini Yogis) to teach children's yoga from 2-8. She is currently transferring into the Child and Adolescent Development Program with a minor in Special Education at SFSU in the fall of 2020 for another B.A.

She enjoys wandering and hiking around the Bay Area, painting, traveling and voraciously reading in her free time. Saachi looks forward to learning more Italian, growing and expanding her practice with the La Scuola family!
Veronica Longo's picture

Veronica Longo

Preschool Teacher
Veronica Longo's picture

Veronica Longo

Preschool Teacher
Veronica was born and raised in Udine, an Italian city of 100,000 inhabitants, and moved to California in February 2020. She loves Italy and in particular her region, Friuli Venezia Giulia, the last region in the northeast before crossing the border with Slovenia. She loves gymnastics and movement, in fact, she practiced rhythmic gymnastics for many years, starting from the age of 5 and continuing until her second year of university. Thanks to this passion, after graduating from the psycho-pedagogical high school, she obtained a degree in Physical Education and then in Sports Science. She has been working with kids and young people since she started her university career 12 years ago. She likes to spend her free time practicing yoga and doing sports, also loves to spend time with the people she loves and with her dog, Athena. She is very happy and excited to be a part of La Scuola!
Chiara Tiezzi's picture

Chiara Tiezzi

Preschool Teacher
Chiara Tiezzi's picture

Chiara Tiezzi

Preschool Teacher
Chiara was born and raised in Milan, Italy, and moved to California in 2015. 

She started playing the clarinet at the age of 9 and studied at the Conservatory Giuseppe Verdi of Milan where she received her degree in music and clarinet. Since 2014 she has been working in childcare as a nanny, private music teacher and teacher in an Italian language center.  She is passionate about music, she enjoys playing the clarinet in her free time, cooking Italian food for her friends, hiking with her dogs and traveling around the world.
Zilma Nunes's picture

Zilma Nunes

Preschool Teacher
Zilma Nunes's picture

Zilma Nunes

Preschool Teacher
Zilma was born in Sao Luis in the northeastern state of Maranhao, Brazil. Italian was the first foreign language that she studied growing up, in addition to French and Spanish. In addition to residing in France for over 20 years, she lived in Venezuela and Cameroon. She has always been passionate about childcare, completing childhood pedagogy programs in Brazil and France; she is currently enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program at San Jose City College. During her free time Zilma enjoys arts and crafts; various martial arts like Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jits; in addition to reading, biking, and cooking. A long time San Francisco resident, she is overjoyed to join the community at La Scuola! Fa tutto con il cuore oppure non fare niente.
Vincenzo Muro's picture

Vincenzo Muro

Preschool Teacher
Vincenzo Muro's picture

Vincenzo Muro

Preschool 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.
Camilla Fusar Poli's picture

Camilla Fusar Poli

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

Camilla Fusar Poli

Preschool 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.
Leslie Cruz's picture

Leslie Cruz

Preschool Teacher
Leslie Cruz's picture

Leslie Cruz

Preschool Teacher
Leslie is starting her 10th year of teaching, having taught around the world. She truly believes that for a child to learn they must feel safe. Leslie leads with the heart and fully intends on creating an environment where children can explore, grow, and thrive. In her room, your child will always come first. Leslie believes that we are all teammates in a child’s education and together we are better. It is her hope that you and your child will always find joy! Leslie looks forward to joining La Scuola and can’t wait to meet you!
Cassidy Helenihi's picture

Cassidy Helenihi

Preschool Teacher
Cassidy Helenihi's picture

Cassidy Helenihi

Preschool Teacher
Cassidy was born and raised In Huntington Beach, CA with her mother, father, and younger sister. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Child and Youth Development at the University of San Francisco. While earning her degree she was able to play Division 1 soccer USF, earning a captain’s band her senior year. Cassidy’s travels with the womens’ soccer team at USF allowed her to experience different cultures across the country. When she traveled and played in Italy and Switzerland she truly fell in love with Italian culture which led to her interest in La Scuola and the Reggio approach.

 

Cassidy has volunteered at Rosa Parks Parks Elementary School where she helped students in reading groups grades K-5 as well as helped them navigate zoom during the pandemic. In her free time she also enjoys babysitting and coaching kids soccer. She is excited to work towards her Early Childhood Education certificate while being a part of the close-knit La Scuola community.  Cassidy is very passionate about making a positive impact in the childrens’ lives and education, and strives to be a great mentor both in and out of the classroom. She can’t wait to learn alongside her students as she dives deeper into her appreciation of Italian culture and the Reggio approach.

 
Josephine Osei's picture

Josephine Osei

Preschool Teacher
Josephine Osei's picture

Josephine Osei

Preschool 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!

 
Elitsa Somleva's picture

Elitsa Somleva

Preschool Teacher
Elitsa Somleva's picture

Elitsa Somleva

Preschool Teacher
Elitsa was born and raised in Bulgaria where she received Bachelors in Italian and Masters in Alternative Tourism. Most recently she received her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education from City College of San Francisco. Curiosity and luck led her to the US which is now home. She spent many years working within the travel industry, including developing educational travel experiences for student groups. Throughout the years, she kept on getting the pull to become an educator. It is in her DNA, being born in a family of teachers. It wasn't until she experienced the power of Early Childhood Education where she found her place and decided to follow the steps of her mother and grandmother. She truly believes that the first years are marked by the most remarkable transformations across the life span and set the foundation for the future. She sees her role as a guide, constantly creating and re-creating learning environments that will help strengthen children's independence, creativity, motivation, and resilience, the skills needed to reach their highest potential.

 

Movement and mindfulness are a big part of her life and she dedicates time daily to her favorite practices from yoga and running to urban hikes in search of edible and medicinal plants. Her other big passions are food, travel and languages. In her free time you can find her roaming the Bay Area farmers markets or traveling to new places and sampling their culinary specialties. Her favorite gelato flavor is pistacchio.
Tonia Pizzato's picture

Tonia Pizzato

Preschool Teacher
Tonia Pizzato's picture

Tonia Pizzato

Preschool Teacher
Tonia's connection to Italy comes from her father’s family who immigrated from Lusiana, near Vicenza, Italy. After spending her childhood in Colorado and Arizona, she wanted to connect to and experience more of her Italian heritage. She lived almost two years in Milan and received her ICC Italian Fluency certificate. She taught English daily to young children in the city and in summer camp in Milago for older children. This experience further enhanced the passion she had always felt for the intuitive ways that children learn and the excitement and connection that language provides. After earning a BA in Radio/TV/Film, with a minor in Italian from Northwestern University, she worked on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for HARPO Studios, the “Shrek” and “Madagascar” films for DreamWorks Animation, and “The Electric Company” at Sesame Street Workshop as production supervisor, and producer.

She was excited to find La Scuola ten years ago when her first child started preschool and became enamoured with Reggio Emilia education as she saw both of her children thrive and  then continue to flourish in the PYP/MYP programs.  She decided to further combine her passions for Italian and Childhood Education by earning her teaching certificate two years ago. She is excited to join the team at the Dogpatch campus and the “The Hundred Languages” of Loris Malaguzzi!  She believes in the importance of socio-emotional learning in early childhood, diverse sensory experiences, and guiding children in discovering the tools to become their best selves. Outside of school and teaching, she can be found immersed in projects with her children and enjoying outdoor adventures with her family, friends, and new puppy, Alfie.
Silvia Ianniciello's picture

Silvia Ianniciello

Preschool Teacher
Silvia Ianniciello's picture

Silvia Ianniciello

Preschool 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.

Andrea Perez's picture

Andrea Perez

Preschool Teacher
Andrea Perez's picture

Andrea Perez

Preschool Teacher
Andrea was born in San Francisco and raised in the Peninsula. She is the fifth of seven children in her family. She is currently working on her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. A Terra Nova High School (Pacifica, CA) Alum, she has extensive knowledge of childcare with years of providing babysitting services, and loves to interact with children. Her hobbies include spending time with her dogs; Gerbian Shepsky (German Shepherd/Husky), Nova, and Chihuahua Mix, Lucky. She also enjoys spending quality time with family, especially her sisters. She loves to explore the great outdoors and take in the beauty of nature in the Bay Area. Lastly, she enjoys breaking out in song at random with her brother Felipe (a La Scuola Alum). 

 
Marta Venturini's picture

Marta Venturini

Preschool Teacher
Marta Venturini's picture

Marta Venturini

Preschool Teacher
Marta was born and raised in a small town near Brescia, Roncadelle, Italy. She studied Social Pedagogical Science in high school, then she graduated, for the first time, at Università Cattolica, in Early Childhood Education in 2008. She immediately started working with children in many preschools of Brescia and she discovered a love for teaching. For her career she decided to return to study, for the second time, at Università Cattolica, in Primary Education Science in 2017. Marta has been teaching for 15 years but has never stopped learning. She is a very curious, determined person and adores traveling. She loves animals, cooking, listening to music, singing and keeping fit.
Ilana Kasner's picture

Ilana Kasner

Preschool Teacher
Ilana Kasner's picture

Ilana Kasner

Preschool Teacher
Ilana is a San Francisco native, growing up in the  Mission District. She attended a Spanish Immersion elementary school, which influenced her love for learning about new cultures and languages. After studying Spanish for over 10 years, Ilana went on to learn Italian in high school for 3 years. She had the opportunity to travel to Italy with a small group of students. Having lived in Siena, Italy for a month, while attending classes, and traveling around to nearby cities, she became enamored with Italian culture.

 

After receiving her Bachelors of Science in Public Health Education with a minor in Holistic Health, Ilana went to work for a couple of elementary schools with the San Francisco Unified School District as an intern with Americorps. Once her year of service was finalized, Ilana moved on to working at One Medical, a primary healthcare office, where is coming from after having been with the company just short of two years. 

She is excited to return to the education field and having the pleasure to work at La Scuola! 
Stefano Fabro's picture

Stefano Fabro

Preschool Teacher
Stefano Fabro's picture

Stefano Fabro

Preschool 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.
Rebecca Perez's picture

Rebecca Perez

Preschool Teacher
Rebecca Perez's picture

Rebecca Perez

Preschool Teacher
Rebecca was born and raised in San Francisco. She is the 2nd oldest out of 7 siblings. She was raised speaking Spanish and learned English while attending school. She is an alumna from Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep and is currently still attending school at Chabot College in pursuing her goal of becoming a teacher. In her free time, she enjoys dancing and enjoys attending classes to learn new moves and teaches Traditional Nicaraguan Folklore with a dance group she dances with. She also loves taking long walks with her dog, Lucky along the shoreline of the bay. She is excited to be in the La Scuola community and being able to learn about the Reggio of the school and also learning about the Italian culture and language.
Alice Merli's picture

Alice Merli

Preschool Teacher
Alice Merli's picture

Alice Merli

Preschool Teacher
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.
Micaela Reynaudo's picture

Micaela Reynaudo

Preschool Teacher
Micaela Reynaudo's picture

Micaela Reynaudo

Preschool Teacher

Micaela was born and raised in Racconigi (a historical town close to Turin).

After earning a Master's Degree in Marketing at the Università della Svizzera Italiana she started to work in the fashion industry in Milan.

In 2017 Micaela joined a social project for two years, in Nicaragua, with the mission to empower women through surfing and to help them with access to fair-paid jobs. There she had her first experience teaching and empowering youth new skills in and out of the water. Her favorite part was to watch these children grow in confidence through their new learned skills and how they created relationships with other members of the classes. 

Micaela is in love with the ocean and with its power to heal people. She also shared her love for the ocean with Italian children by teaching surf lessons there as well to ride the waves before coming to the Bay Area. She has loved working with children, guiding and mentoring them as they grow. She moved to San Francisco to live with her husband who’s originally from the region. Now, she is totally immersed in the diverse culture of San Francisco. Micaela is thrilled to be part of the La Scuola teaching team and is now eager to work with the students and families!

Danait Tezare's picture

Danait Tezare

Preschool Teacher
Danait Tezare's picture

Danait Tezare

Preschool 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.
Elisa Benassi's picture

Elisa Benassi

Preschool Teacher
& Professional Development Specialist
Elisa Benassi's picture

Elisa Benassi

Preschool Teacher
& Professional Development Specialist
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! 
Margarita Kasman's picture

Margarita Kasman

Preschool Teacher
Margarita Kasman's picture

Margarita Kasman

Preschool 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

Preschool Teacher
Valentina Zerbini's picture

Valentina Zerbini

Preschool 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.