Our Team

Barbara De Bernardi – Founder & Director

Barbara designs and teaches all Insieme a Chicago programs! Native of Sondrio, Italy, she studied “Lingue e Letterature Straniere” at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, in Milan. After an extensive experience as a foreign languages educator for preschoolers, she graduated with a Master in Linguistics in 2010 at Northeastern University, in Chicago. Since then she has been researching ways to bridge the Italian early education system with the American one.  Loving both her home country and Chicago, she is raising her sons bilingual and bicultural, hence her inspiration to create a community like Insieme a Chicago.

Lara Meoni – Lead Teacher & Communications Manager

Lara was born and raised in Florence, Italy, and attended Istituto Lucrezia Tornabuoni. She has lived in the U.S. (Chicago) since 1994 and has several years of experience working as an Italian language instructor for preschoolers and elementary school children, as well as tracking & reporting her students’ progress. Her own three children are bilingual and bicultural. Lara has known Barbara and has worked with her over the years in Italian teaching endeavors. Lara is passionate about her culture and language, thus the desire to join a growing comunity like “Insieme a Chicago!”

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Alina Pacitto – Teacher (Programs 6-14 yrs Old)

Alina was born and raised in Italy. In 2015 she moved to the United States, where she taught Italian for children at DAS – Dante Alighieri Society, in Birmingham for one year, before moving to Chicago. That experience made her realize that her dream was not only to teach the Italian Language to young students, but it was also to teach the love and Cultural richness of our sweet, beautiful Language. Alina has been teaching at Insieme since Fall 2017.

Roberta Terchi Nocentini – Teacher (Programs 6-14 yrs Old)

Roberta is an Italian teacher and pianist/vocal coach. She was born in L’Aquila, where she got her Master degree in Italian Language and Literature and Piano (Cum Laude). In London, she graduated with a Master of Art in Piano Accompaniment at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music. Both in Italy and in England she experienced teaching with children as Italian and Piano teacher, working also as a coach for shows performed by young artists. Roberta also has significant experience in the diction of Italian, as she has been Italian Language Coach both in London (Trinity Laban Conservatoire and Royal Academy of Music) and here in Chicago (Chicago Vocal Arts Consortium). She moved to the Windy City eight months ago, with the wish to share her Italian culture with the young and older generations.

Claudia Di Pancrazio – Volunteer Teacher (Programs 3-5 yrs Old) 

Claudia was born in San Benedetto del Tronto, where she attended “Liceo Classico”. She moved to Rome to study at “Università La Sapienza”, where she received her Master Degree in Archeology. After a few years she moved to France, where she was able to combine her great passions: love for art, history, children and teaching. The desire to share her Culture with the younger generations has led her to improve her skills in childhood education and collaborate with “Université de Genève” in initiatives involving French and Swiss schools. In France, she organized a small nursery in her home, where she could replicate the activities of a typical day in an Italian preschool with courses for bi / trilingual children between few months and 5 years old.

Roberta Garufi – Teacher (Programs 5-10 yrs Old) 

Roberta was born in Genova, Italy where she lives until she moved to Chicago in January 2019. She obtained her High school diploma with specialization in teacher training in 1998 at Istituto Magistrale Sandro Pertini in Genova and her master degree in Art History at Genova University ( Università degli Studi di Genova) in 2009. After her degree she worked as an assistant for a contemporary art gallery and she worked as an elementary school teacher in the public schools in her hometown. Roberta loves spending her free time in nature as well as discovering art and its new languages and expressions. She is very excited to be part of the amazing Insieme a Chicago team since she has found a community to keep her Italian roots alive and at the same time she has the opportunity to teach the Italian language as well as the Italian culture to the children.