Board of Governors – SIAL

Board of Governors

The Board of Governors of SIAL.school is composed of people with professional experience in various fields, from teaching to finance, from law to public relations, who volunteer for the school. They are all connected by the strong belief that the Italian language and its culture are worth keeping alive and teaching, not only to Italians but to anyone else who recognises their value.

The Board manages the business side of the school, whilst the day to day operations are superbly managed by our Headteacher.

Our Board

Alberto Pravettoni - Chair of the Board

Alberto is the Chair of Board. He has been involved in the project since November 2005, and his main focus has been on the financial business planning. He graduated in Business Administration at Bocconi University in Milan and attended a post graduate program on Management in Global Enterprises at the American School of International Management (Phoenix, AZ). In 2004, he completed a “Nonprofit Leadership Program” at Harvard University, specifically designed for Trustees. Alberto worked for 13 years as a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, where he was the Global Head of Fixed Income Operations. Most recently, he was a Managing Director and member of the Executive Committee at LCH.Clearnet. Between 2003 and 2007, he sat on the Board of Trustees of “La Scuola d’Italia G. Marconi” in New York.

Ada Cerne

Ada joined the Board of Trustees in 2019 and is primarily involved with the financial business planning of the Charity. Since 2014, Ada has worked at Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management (UK), where she is Managing Director and Head of Digital Infrastructure within their Infrastructure and Structured Finance department. She began her career in the Investment Banking Division of BZW / Barclays Capital in the late Nineties and later moved to the Structured Finance Department at WestLB AG where she spent 14 years primarily in the telecoms and acquisition finance teams. Whilst a senior originator at WestLB, she also acted as country manager for Sub-Saharan Africa. Ada obtained an IB Diploma from the United World College of South East Asia (Singapore). She holds a BA in Economics and an MSc in Development Economics from The School of Oriental and African Studies, London University. She is a CFA Charterholder.

Christian Iachini

Christian joined the Board of Trustees in October 2017 with the mandate to support the communication and marketing activities of the charity. He has nearly 20 years of experience in digital marketing, having led digital marketing departments in large multinationals. He also holds two Master’s Degrees: one in International Management and Business Administration from Copenhagen Business School and the other in Corporate Communication from the University of Trieste. Christian has 2 trilingual children, one of whom attended SIAL.school.

Ernestina Meloni

Ernestina joined the project in January 2006 and was mainly involved in the coordination of the bilingual aspect of the curriculum. She graduated in Modern Languages at Cagliari University and completed a Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics at Birkbeck College, University of London. Ernestina has been teaching Italian in the UK for the past forty years in Oxford and London. At present she is a teacher and coordinator of the Italian Department at the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle in London. She has been working for British and International organizations as a trainer and adviser promoting excellence in language education. She also worked as language adviser for the BBC in the production of various children’s programmes. In 2004 Ernestina won the European Language Award, an Italian Embassy Award for teaching languages through movement and dance and was knighted by the Italian Government as a “Cavaliere all’Ordine del Merito della Repubblica Italiana”. In 2005 she received an award from Chicago University for Best Teaching Practice. Ernestina has been working for various examination boards as Moderator and Principal. She has published books to teach Italian for National British Exams (GCSE and A Level) and she is still publishing articles and educational material on bilingual education and language teaching. She is involved in different EU projects promoting inclusion, dialogue and respect of cultural diversity.

Francesca Nelson-Smith

Founder of the project la Scuola Italiana a Londra, Francesca devoted her spare time to the idea of opening an Italian school since she moved back to London in 1997. Finally in 2004, with the help of Emanuela Federspil and the support of the “Italians of London” organisation, she created the commission “A school for the Italians” with a team of volunteers to work on the project. Francesca succeeded Emanuela as Chair of the Board of Governors in 2011 and maintained the role until August 2017. She remains on the board as Head of Marketing and PR. Francesca graduated in Philosophy and Modern Languages (French) at Oxford University and started her career as a bi-lingual magazine and book producer in London. Subsequently she specialised in the production of promotional events for the SMH- Swatch Group in Milan. Back in London since 1997, she has worked on a number of charities and business projects. On the 10th of March 2016 the Italian Ambassador Pasquale Terracciano awarded Francesca the honour of “Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia” for her contribution to the promotion of Italian education and culture in the United Kingdom. Francesca has been a member of the board of St Francis of Assisi Primary school since February 2015 and Vice-Chair of the board since September 2019.

Domenic Pini

Domenic joined the team in 2010 to help with legal advice and fundraising. Domenic was educated St George’s College Weybridge, Surrey and Cambridge University. After many years working for a number of practices in London, he is now a Partner of Pini Franco LLP. Domenic was Chairman of the British Italian Law Association 1984 to 1996 and former President of the City of London Rotary Club and a Council Member of Business Club Italia as well as Freeman of the City of London. Awarded by the President of the Italian Republic on 28 12 2015 “Ufficiale Ordine della Stella D’Italia”. Member of the International Court of Appeal of the UIM (Union Internationale Motoautique) for the four-year terms 2019-2023.

Michaela Rees Jones

Michaela joined the board in 2014. Following a degree in Modern Languages she pursued a professional career in International Education in Europe and the USA. Early work in teaching was followed by several years working in marketing, publishing and recruitment for Interstudy Inc and EF. More recently she has focussed on volunteering and fundraising for a number of local good causes. Through the English Speaking Union Michaela has helped with the EAL programme at a primary school in North Kensington, is a former Vice-Chair of The Second Half Foundation, sits on the board of the charity Action Against Cancer and is a member of the Witness Service team at the Central Criminal Court.

Laura Arcelli-Fontana (aka Laura Marani) – Special Advisor to the Board

Laura has been working on project La Scuola Italiana a Londra since the beginning, firstly as one of the Trustees of the Charity and, when the School opened, taking the role of Headmistress till December 2015. Laura was born in Piacenza and moved to Britain when she was 4 years old. She was educated at an English convent school and at an international and multilingual school in Switzerland. She worked as an interpreter until she married and had two daughters, then she attended London University as a mature student where she obtained her degree in Education in 1978. Laura taught at Pembridge Hall School for Girls for 23 years, nine of these as Headmistress, during which time the school was consistently ranked in the top three London primary schools. Laura is currently a Governor of Queen’s Gate School (a charity), and a senior adviser of Hurlingham School. Laura was also a founding Governor of Notting Hill Preparatory School where she played an integral part in its conception and opening. In 2016 Laura was approached by an English Academic who had been to visit the school earlier and, as he saw the success of the venture and the progress of the pupils, he asked her if she was willing to set up another bilingual/bi-curricular school. Of course Laura could not resist and Kensington Wade, English/Chinese school, is now flourishing too.

Silvia Carrara de Sambuy (aka Silvia Bossi) - Curriculum advisor to the board

Silvia joined the project in November 2005 and has mainly contributed to the development of our unique bicultural teaching programme. She graduated in Humanities from the Università Cattolica in Milan and obtained an MA on training and human resources management at ISMO and one in ”Game Theory and Strategic Thinking” at the London School of Economics. Silvia published several papers on comparative European education systems. Since 1995, she has lectured on education and training at the Università Cattolica in Milan, Faculty of Educational Science, Department of Pedagogy. When she moved back to Milan in 2013 Silvia did some consulting work for prestigious Collegio San Carlo on their bi-lingual and bi-curricular programme both for primary and secondary school. Silvia stepped down from the board in 2022 but continues to support the school as a consultant.

The Board of Trustees thanks its first Chair Emanuela Federspil for enabling the opening of SIAL.school through her marketing efforts and commitment to the cause and is grateful to its former board member and Chair Raffaella Celia for her leadership, legal acumen and selfless commitment which have been invaluable to the school and our charity over the years.

Our Patrons

H. E. the Italian Ambassador
Lady Carla Powell
Maria Carmela Viscountess Hambleden
Martina Mazzotta
Benito Fiore

The Board of Patrons oversees fundraising operations and gives its input where applicable, with contacts and ideas.

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