NIAF News Releases

** New York Educator Josephine Montella to Receive Award**


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

(WASHINGTON, DC–October 13, 2006) Josephine Montella, a teacher of Italian language and culture at Herbert H. Lehman High School in the Bronx, N.Y., is the recipient of the fourth annual National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Teacher of the Year Award. Montella will be recognized at the NIAF’s 31st Anniversary Awards convention weekend, held October 20-21 at the Hilton Washington & Towers, Washington, D.C.

The NIAF Teacher of the Year Award honors an educator at the elementary or secondary level who has shown dedication to teaching Italian and demonstrates an ability to inspire a love of learning this topic in students of any background.

“I have been extremely dedicated to the advancement of teaching Italian language and culture for the last 23 years at Lehman High School. At Lehman, we have been able to attract and keep a large multi-ethnic student population enrolled in the study of Italian language and culture, enabling students to feel as close as possible to Italy,” Montella, said.

Montella will receive a continuing education stipend for study in Italy at either the University of Siena or the University of Perugia, in a specialized course designed for teachers of the Italian language for foreigners, “Corso di Aggiornamento per Insegnanti All’Estero” (Refresher Course for Foreign Teachers), during summer 2007.

A graduate of Hunter College in New York City with a degree in economics and a minor in Spanish, Montella also earned a master’s degree from Hunter College in Teaching English as a Second Language. She taught Lehman High School’s first advanced placement Italian language course and has escorted six groups of students to Italy. Through her classes, Montella’s students have been introduced to Italian pen-pals, interacted with Italian students visiting the United States, and attended Italian operas at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Opera.

During the gala awards convention weekend, NIAF will also feature conferences, exhibits, the traditional celebrity luncheon and auction, and a seminar on tourism. Visit for updates during the gala weekend.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. Learn more about our programs and events by visiting

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