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Meet Rossella Broglia and Nicoletta Mazis of Italian American Academy of San Diego in La Jolla

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rossella Broglia and Nicoletta Mazis.

The Italian American Academy is a not-for-profit organization of parents and educators whose ultimate goal is to preserve and promote the Italian culture.

Founders Rossella and Nicoletta along with Maria Maestrini Williamson (no longer part of the school), worked together at the Italian Cultural Center of San Diego. In 2009 they completed their graduate studies at the prestigious University of Venice obtaining a Master’s Degree in Italian Language and Promotion of Italian Culture Abroad. At the end of the program they co-wrote and published a thesis titled: “Comprehensive Plan for a Bilingual, Bi-Curricular School in San Diego”.

As educators and mothers of children in the k-5 bracket, they felt the need for a brand-new type of school, one they would like their own children to attend. Soon the idea of a school harmoniously blending a rigorous European curriculum with the innovative American educational approach started blossoming in their minds.

That’s when they started working at a comprehensive business plan where they applied the work done for their thesis to the San Diego County reality: an area with an extremely diverse population, the 8th most populated on a national scale, where there are full immersion bilingual schools in every language but Italian!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Opening the school was easy (less bureaucracy than Italy!), but we had to face several challenges such as getting ourselves known and trusted by the community, recruiting qualified and long lasting staff and finding a convenient location just to mention a few.

Another big challenge was to create a brand new curriculum for heritage students (LCI track) using as our only point of reference the Italian curriculum used in schools in Italy.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
IAASD is an afternoon enrichment program that preserves and promote the Italian language and culture. Our classes target children from preschool to high school, both complete beginners and advanced fluent speakers.

It is the only Italian school for children in San Diego that offers high quality courses of language as well as culture.

IAASD has two different tracks: IFL (Italian Foreign Language) classes for beginners and LCI (Lingua e Cultura Italiana) classes for advanced students that are already fluent in the language. For IFL courses we use the communicative approach of teaching that emphasizes interaction as both the means and the ultimate goal of study. LCI courses focus on writing, reading, Italian history, geography and literature.

IAASD has grown on these 6 years of activity and it is now approved by San Diego Unified School District as well as San Dieguito Union High School District to give credits for Italian as foreign language to meet high school graduation requirements and University of California and State Colleges a-g entrance admission requirements. Currently IAASD is pursuing WASC accreditation.

We are very proud of our achievements, both academically and socially. Being part of the school means becoming part of a community of families that share the same love and passion for Italy and for its beautiful language. It also means developing new friendship among students and their families.

What were you like growing up?
Rossella Broglia: I grew up in the beautiful countryside outside the city of Pavia, a university city south-west of Milan, in Northern Italy. I was a very active and curious child, who loved to be outdoors, always looking for new adventures while playing in the countryside among the rice fields, the corn fields and in the woods.
I was dreaming to travel the world just like an explorer. My favorite games were either prepare my backpack for an imaginary adventurous journey or building a tent with my siblings and cousins who lived in the same big country house. I always loved music and foreign languages: I grew up playing piano, saxophone and guitar, I always enjoyed studying French when in school, mainly French literature and poetry.

Nicoletta Mazis: I grew up in a very small town near Venice. I knew everybody in town both children and adults. I went to school for eight years with the same friends and teachers. The town did not have too much, no theater, no library no recreational center so as children we used to play out in the street all year long, even in the cold and freezing winter days. I loved swimming, pretty much the only sport near my house I had access to and I played piano for a long time. I attended the conservatory school of music through middle school and high school. I was a child with a lot of fantasy and creativity, I used to draw many paintings, I think my mother still has some of them. I also loved writing all kind of imaginary stories. I have always loved little kids so much that starting in middle school until I graduated from my master I was tutoring young ones, in math, science and even Latin.


  • Our classes range from $125 – $250 per month according to the level and accreditation

Contact Info:

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