Our staff


Palermo

The Director

Gabriella Finizio, DML was born and studied in Naples, Italy, where she was a doctoral student in Philosophy when she married and moved to the United States with her husband Michael, a pharmaceutical researcher with the DuPont de Nemours Company. In the USA, Gabriella received her BA in Latin and Greek from CUNY, her Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Delaware and her Doctoral Degree in Modern Languages from Middlebury College in Vermont, where she specialized in Italian Medieval-Renaissance Literature and Italian Cinema. She joined the Foreign Language and Literature Department at the University of Delaware in 1982 and earned the University’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 1992 and 2010. Gabriella is also Delaware’s Consular Correspondent for the Italian Consulate General in Philadelphia, and a board member of the Delaware Italian American Education Association.

The Assistant Director

Isabelle Meredith has been a language instructor or teacher at different levels and for different students ranging from preschoolers to business people. She teaches Italian, French and Latin and has studied Italian from elementary school to college. She graduated with a Baccalaureate in Languages Literature and Philosophy and then went to Law School at the University of Nice where she obtained the equivalent of a Bachelor in Business and International Law. Isabelle also worked for corporations in Europe and in America so she has experience in both the teaching environment and the business world. She grew up in the South of France, at about 1 hour from the Italian border. On her father’s side, her grandparents were Italian from Umbertide, Umbria and Bassano del Grappa, Veneto. She grew up speaking with them and started to learn Italian in school at age 7.

The Teachers

Christina Brown received her M.A. in Italian Studies from New York University, Florence, Italy in January 2015. She also holds a B.A. in Three Languages – Italian, Spanish, Arabic, a B.A. in European Studies and a Minor in Political Science from the University of Delaware, Newark, DE, May 2103. She studied abroad in Sorrento, Italy, and Salamanca, Spain during the years 2010-2011 Christina will be teaching for the third year at La Mia Piazza.

Rosa Iacono This is Rosa's third summer teaching at La Mia Piazza. Rosa received her BA in Foreign Languages and Literature from the University of Delaware. She also studied Italian and Art History at the Universita' per Stranieri in Siena, Italy. Rosa began teaching in 1999. She has taught all levels of Italian, including AP at St. Mark's High School, Padua Academy and Delaware Technical and Community College. Rosa has also worked for Sterling Publishing translating several Italian books for the American market. She is currently teaching middle school Spanish at St. John the Beloved School.

Amanda Leto will teach her fourth summer at La Mia Piazza. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Italian Studies from the University of Delaware and a Master of Arts in Italian from Middlebury College (Vermont and Florence). She taught as a part time instructor of Italian at West Chester University before becoming a middle school Italian teacher in Annapolis, Maryland for two years. Two years ago, she decided to move closer to her family, and now teaches Italian at an amazing middle school in New Jersey. She thoroughly enjoys everything Italian and because of her passion, married a handsome man from Sicily 6 years ago. They have an adorable 1-year old boy named Hunter. She is looking forward to another year of sharing her love of all things Italian with the kids of La Mia Piazza.

Danielle Rossi recieved her BA in Italian Education from the University of Delaware. While attending the University of Delaware, she also studied Italian and Art History in Siena, Italy. She began her teaching career at St. Mark's High School in Wilmington, Delaware, teaching all levels of Italian for 10 years. She then moved to teach Italian part-time at the University of Delaware for two years. She currently teaches Italian at Concord High School in Wilmington, Delaware. Danielle has been teaching at La Mia Piazza camp since it started in 2009. She is very happy to be back again to share her experiences with the children at La Mia Piazza!

Angela Trani is a graduate of the University of Delaware. She earned a Bachelors Degree in Italian and Spanish Studies and a Masters Degree in Latin American Literature. She began her career teaching Italian at Concord High School in Wilmington, where she taught for nine years, before deciding to teach at college level. She currently teaches Italian at West Chester University and part-time at the University of Delaware. Angela is one of the camp's original teachers and has taught every summer, except for the summer of 2011 when Angela won a scholarship to study art history in Rome for four weeks. Angela is also a member of the Delaware Italian American Education Association. Angela has taught Italian to students from ages four to seventy years old. She is delighted to return for yet another successful summer of La Mia Piazza!

Mariateresa Esposito can’t wait to get together again with the staff and the campers of La Mia Piazza. Born and brought up in Napoli, Italy, she is working on her dissertation to complete her doctoral degree at the Istituto Orientale- Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II. Her degree is in Comparative Languages and Cultures, with specialization in English and Japanese. Mariateresa has also completed a degree as a specialized guide in art history and tourism geography. She is a soccer expert and has been playing the game for many years; her favorite soccer team is Napoli, but she also loves the Philadelphia Union, which she plans on watching again in July. She hopes to pass on “soccer fever” to the campers, in addition to teaching them some songs, dances and of course… the Italian language.

Sharon Cilento has been an art educator for 20 years. She currently teaches Fine Arts at Christ the Teacher School in Newark to students in grades K - 8. She attended The Art Institute of Philadelphia and earned a BFA in Painting from the University of Delaware. Sharon enjoys travel (especially to Italy!), singing, visiting museums and hunting for treasures at yard sales and flea markets. Sharon looks forward to another creative summer experience at La Mia Piazza and the opportunity to introduce the artistic traditions of Apulia and the Salento region to our campers.

The Chef

Joanne Dell’Aversano decided to devote herself fully to the art of food, and to the research and preparation of Italian regional cuisine, as soon as she stepped into the year 2000. Since then she experienced many settings, owned her own Caffè and catering business, and finally decided that teaching Italian Cuisine was her real passion. We are truly lucky to have her at La Mia Piazza as a chef and a teacher.