Our Team in Florence

Our Director and senior management team, based in Florence, run the Institute and are accountable to our Trustees. Around 40 teachers and other colleagues work alongside us. 

Simon Gammell - Director

Simon comes to the British Institute after a 30 year career with the British Council, most recently as Country Director in Poland. Simon studied History and English at Cambridge before training as a teacher at the University of London. Soon after graduating, he moved to Florence and taught at the British Institute for two years. During that time he established an Anglo-Italian theatre group in Florence, before returning to UK to train and work as a Theatre Director for a number of years. In 1987 he started a four-year position with the British Council in Rome, where his two younger children were born. Subsequent postings with the British Council took him to Buenos Aires, Sydney, Mumbai and Los Angeles – always with a strong focus on arts and education programmes. In 2004 he was awarded an OBE for services to British-Australian relations. He is delighted to have returned to Italy to lead the British Institute accompanied by his wife, Jennifer. Their adult children now live in Cadiz, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv and Sydney – but they all love visiting Italy!

Amanda Lowe - Deputy Director

Amanda has lived in Florence since 1987. She trained to be an English teacher with The British Institute of Florence and started teaching in 1992 specialising in Business English. After graduating in psychology she also taught social psychology for the Open University’s European Honours Degree Programme. In 2009 she took on the role of Head of Languages managing the English and Italian departments with over 2000 students per year. In July 2018 she became Deputy Director of the Institute.

Jeremy Boudreau - Head of History of Art

Jeremy joined the Senior Management Team of the Institute as Head of History of Art in 2014. His training is as a museum educator and art historian and his specialisation is the art and culture of Renaissance Italy. Today, he oversees a team of lecturers who contribute to the Institute’s history of art courses and study abroad programming. After graduating with a degree in Museum Education from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, Jeremy completed his MA in Art History at Syracuse University as a Florence Fellow. He is an accredited Lecturer for The Arts Society, a member of the Association of Art Historians (AAH) and a member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

Annette Cooper - Young Learner Coordinator

Annette has been working at the British Institute of Florence since 2001.  She began teaching English prior to that in 1991, working in both Hong Kong and the UK as a teacher and teacher trainer along with overseeing summer school programs.  She has the Trinity cTESOL and the Cambridge DELTA teaching qualifications as well as having been an examiner for Cambridge ESOL exams since 2002.  Annette has been the Young Learner Coordinator at the Institute since 2009 running courses for students aged 5-18 years.

Giulia Galeazzi - Library Coordinator

Giulia, a native Florentine, graduated in philosophy at her hometown University, and earned a post-graduate degree in Library Sciences from the Vatican Library. She has collaborated with several libraries and cultural institutes in Florence and abroad, including the Biblioteca Berenson of Villa I Tatti. In January 2017 she proudly joined the Harold Acton Library of the British Institute of Florence.

Louise Barker - State Schools Coordinator

Louise studied modern languages at the University of Kent in Canterbury. She settled in Italy permanently in the mid-90s. She has taught all ages and all levels and is a Cambridge examiner for adults all levels and also for young learners. She became the State Schools Coordinator in 2020. She now lives about 25km from Florence with her two Anglo-Italian teenage daughters. She loves family life, music, language, swimming and walking in the countryside among other things.

Diletta Melani - Operations Manager and Exams Coordinator

Diletta Melani graduated in classical literature at the University of Florence. A former student of the British Institute of Florence, she began working at the front office of the Institute in 2001 then became head of reception staff. She  has held the Exams Coordinator post since 2002.

Penny Walsh - Head of Finance and Resources

Penny joined the Institute in March 2015 as Head of Finance and Resources, previous to this she was Head of Corporate Services at the British Embassy in Rome. She worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for 25 years in various roles in London and abroad including Deputy Ambassador in the British Embassy in Panama, and Head of the VIP visits section in the FCO. She graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury earning a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Europeans Studies and Computing and she holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Business Administration from the Open University.  When she in not working for the Institute she works as a freelance translator (Italian > English) and in her free time she enjoys gardening, and cycling and walking in the beautiful Tuscan countryside.