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 Gammell 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 be returning to Italy to lead the British Institute. He will be accompanied by his wife, Jennifer. His 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 has headed the History of Art Department since January 2014. Additionally, he is a member of the Association of Art Historians (AAH), the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and serves as the Academic Co-ordinator for the annual Palazzo Strozzi Foundation USA High School Renaissance Award Programme.
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.
Rebecca Hollinger -State Schools Coordinator
Rebecca Hollinger has been teaching English in Tuscany since the 1990s. She has the Cambridge teaching qualifications CELTA, DELTA and Delta and is a Cambridge examiner. Before joining the British Institute of Florence in 2010, she was a teacher trainer for a private language school where she travelled all over Italy presenting seminars and workshops to teachers. Here at the Institute she organises and teaches courses in schools in and around Florence and helps organise workshops for schools at the Institute.
Diletta Melani - 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 for 25 years after graduating from the University of Kent at Canterbury. She has a Post Graduate Certificate in Business Administration from the Open University.