OUR STAFF

Katie Ciccone


Katie Ciccone is a certified Italian and Spanish teacher.  She holds a B.A. in Italian and secondary education, endorsement in English as a Second Language,  Master’s in Reading and most recently, certification in Spanish. Katie has worked with all levels of language learners including middle school, high school, university level and adult learners.  She has studied in Florence, Italy and Costa Rica and has hosted trips to Italy with both high school students and adults. Katie loves to get her students talking and using the target language in a relaxed atmosphere.  She continues to hone her practice by implementing communicative practices to simulate “real world” language and brings the culture of the target language into the classroom. Katie’s class is fun and dynamic and students are motivated to improve their language fluency in each class.   


Lou Turchetta 

Lou Turchetta is the founder and co-director of Passport to Languages.  Although Lou works as a psychologist, his passion for Italy and its culture, and a desire to reconnect with his roots inspired him to begin the study of Italian.  Lou initially began his language learning by taking courses at local colleges.  He soon began to organize Italian classes with the intent of providing an opportunity for busy adults like him to engage in the study of a language in a relaxed, enjoyable environment. Passport to Languages has allowed Lou to provide this opportunity to people who share a similar interest and passion for language learning.  Lou not only organizes the classes but is also a student in many of the classes as language learning has become his lifelong hobby.  




Daniela Ciccone

Daniela Ciccone is the co-director of Passport to Languages. She is a certified Italian and Spanish teacher, holding a B.A. in Italian with a minor in Spanish, a B.S. in Education and M.Ed. in counseling. Raised in an Italian speaking household and spending many of her childhood summers in Italy, she brings and authenticity to her Italian language instruction.  Daniela also spent an academic year studying in Florence, Italy and a semester in Granada, Spain.  With several years of experience teaching high school language classes as well as adult classes, Daniela brings a wealth of experience to the Passport to Languages classroom.  Her enthusiasm for the language and fun loving personality make her classes interesting and enjoyable.





Emma Catanzaro

​​Emma is a certified Spanish teacher and holds a BA in Spanish and a Masters in Arts in Teaching with a Certification (MAT-C). Emma has taught many levels of Spanish in the last twenty years, from pre-school through college level. She is a freelance interpreter/translator and has completed the Medical Interpreting and Translating Program required to meet the needs of medical facilities. Emma moved to the United States at the age of ten and, despite a good foundation of English classes in Puerto Rico, still found it difficult to be fully immersed in a new language and culture. Through the years, she continued studying Spanish while becoming fluent in English. This experience allowed Emma to truly empathize with students' struggles to learn a language and helped her create a positive, warm and fun learning environment. Being raised in a multi-cultural home (Danish and Puerto Rican) sparked a love of languages and a passion for different cultures which Emma feels has enriched her life. She loves to share this enthusiasm with students in her classroom. In addition to teaching, she enjoys learning new languages, traveling, and photography.




Matt Papino 

Matt is a certified Italian and Spanish teacher. He holds a B.A. in Italian, Spanish, and secondary education and a minor in international development. He also earned an M.A. in Italian from Middlebury College.  Matt has lived and studied abroad in Spain, Costa Rica, and Italy, and has done extensive travel throughout Europe.  Aside from working at Passport to Languages, Matt also teaches Italian and Spanish in the Warwick Public School system.  He serves on the executive board of the Rhode Island Teachers of Italian and is a member of the Rhode Island Foreign Language Association, American Association of Teachers of Italian, and American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.  Matt is a fervent promoter of foreign language at all levels and was named the 2011 Rhode Island Foreign Language Teacher of the Year.  Matt makes his classes entertaining and engaging, and his exuberant approach keeps students coming back for more.  Matt is also proud to share his family's Italian heritage with his students.  His favorite hobby is genealogy, and any of his trips to Italy have included doing research in several of his family's ancestral towns.




​Emilia Ruggiero


Emilia is a certified Italian and Spanish teacher.  She holds a B.A. In Italian, Spanish, and secondary education and a M.A. in Spanish.  She is the World Languages Department Chair at Johnston Senior High School and a member of RIFLA, RITI and the AATSP.  Emilia has lived and studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain and Florence, Italy and has traveled extensively throughout Italy, Spain and Europe. Emilia’s love of the Italian and Spanish languages and cultures is apparent in her classes.  Through conversational, group and independent activities, her students’ language and conversational skills improve considerably throughout each session.