Anna Olivero-Agney, Adult School Director, was born and raised in Asti, Italy. She has been teaching Italian and foreign languages in college and adult education since 2002 within various settings, including the University of Minnesota, St. Olaf College, Carroll University, and the Italian Institute of Culture in Chicago. From 2013 to 2017 she held the position of Language Assessment Specialist at the Language Center of the College of Liberal Arts, UMN. She holds a degree in Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Torino, Italy, and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, Second Language Education, from the University of Minnesota. In her classes, she focuses on presenting various cultural aspects of current Italy.

Cristina Cocchi was born and raised in Modena, Italy, and moved to Minnesota in 2003. She holds a university degree in Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, from the University of Bologna, Italy, and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction (Second Language Education) from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She has 25+ years of Italian teaching experience in a variety of settings, including university and adult education. She always strives for innovative and enjoyable ways to help people better learn the Italian language and culture.

On temporary leave

Brook Dell’Anna as a Navy brat, has lived all over the United States, and then spent her young adulthood in Naples, Italy, where she met and married her napoletano husband, Giuseppe. While living in Napoli, she taught at the Anglo-Italian Montessori school, and more recently, she was employed at Iowa State University as a Lecturer of Italian and International Studies. Brook attended St. Mary's College of Maryland, where she earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science. Soon after, she earned a Master's degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma. Brook moved to Minnesota with her husband and their three children in 2020 and looks forward to joining the Italian community here.

Carlotta Dradi was born and raised in Ravenna, Italy. Trained as a professional cello player and Opera singer in Italy, she moved to the US in 2000 and obtained an M.A. in Italian Literature (with a minor in music) from the UMN. She worked as the Italian teacher and diction coach at the Minnesota Opera for several years. In 2007 she became the Director of Italian Language Instruction in the French and Italian Department at the UMN and has been working there, also as Senior Teaching Specialist, ever since. Carlotta loves working with language and technology as well as sharing her passion about Opera, and she particularly enjoys assisting students with pronunciation and diction. 

Mariateresa Maruska Monaco relocated to Minnesota in 2019 with her husband and children. Born and raised in Cuneo, Piemonte, after attending Liceo Classico, Mariateresa earned a Laurea in electrical engineering from Politecnico di Torino and a Diploma in Piano from the Conservatorio Verdi di Torino. During her engineering studies she met her husband, and after working in Italy for a while they decided to follow their “American Dream” and moved to the Boston area for graduate studies at MIT, in engineering and business. They spent many years studying and working in Boston, and then they moved to Iowa and now Minnesota! After raising three bilingual children (now all in college) and a long career in the stock market, she’s exploring her old passions for piano and Italian teaching, along with her finance and investment interests.

Romina Montanari, a native of Emilia Romagna, has been teaching Italian to adults extensively in the Twin Cities since 2007. Her teaching philosophy is to create a fun, intensive learning experience for students with many opportunities for interactive exercises and practice. She strives to give students a better understanding of the Italian culture coupled with practical uses of the language for travel, business and pleasure. She received her Bachelor degree in Economics from the University of Modena and a Professional Diploma in Marketing from the University of California-Berkeley.

Mirella Rossi Heimpel is a native of Rome. She holds a Laurea in Psychology from the University of Roma "La Sapienza". Mirella has lived in the United States for 23 years and taught Italian privately and through different community programs. Besides focusing on the four basic skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing, she attaches equal importance to learning about Italy and its rich culture.

On temporary leave



Rosanna Staffa is an Italian writer living in Minneapolis. Born in Naples, she holds and MFA in writing from Spalding  University and a  PhD in Foreign Languages and Literatures from Statale University in Milan. She has taught at The Loft,  NYU, UCLA,  and The Getty Institute. Her work is included in the Best Small Fictions 2021. Her essays and short stories are  published by New Rivers Press American Fiction Anthology, The Best New and Unpublished Writers Vol. 15, Tampa Review,  The Sun and others. Her novel ‘The War Ends At Four’ will be published by Regal House in the Summer 2023. Teaching  combines sharing her passion for languages and literature with the joy of creating a community of  curious learners. 

Ileana Tamberlani Kraft was born and grew up in a town by the coastline 30 miles south of Roma. She studied Political Sciences at the University in Roma. After living in Belgium for four years and traveling around Europe with her family, she met her husband and moved to the Twin Cities in 2010. She has been teaching Italian online to students from all over the world since 2011 and she also does interpreting and translating jobs. She strives to integrate Italian culture in her classes and daily life with students, family, and friends.



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