chapelbalcony 1435275394 174.50.222.18

Rita Richardson, President

2Tim and Rita Richardson 1435795624 174.50.222.18Rita is the founder and president of Friends of San Filippino. A dual citizen of the United States and Italy, she is an experienced language teacher, business owner and nonprofit board member.

Rita earned a B.A. and M.Ed. in French Education from the University of Georgia. She has taught French to students of all ages, including pre-school children, middle and high school students, college students and adult learners. In 1989, Rita founded French For Fun, a private business that provides French language instruction to pre-school, kindergarten and elementary school children.

Rita served as a board member of the Nashville, TN chapter of Alliance Française from 1998 - 2006 and was president of that organization from 1999 to 2001. She has been a board member of Sister Cities of Nashville since 2000 and serves as the chair of the Crouy, France committee since 2008. Rita is fluent in French and Italian.

Rita’s mother Maria DiRaimo Morgan was born and raised in Naples, Italy, and her maternal grandmother was born and raised in Vinci, just outside of Florence. Rita has many relatives and family friends throughout Tuscany and enjoys visiting them regularly.

Rita and her husband Tim live in Nashville, TN. They also have an apartment in Castiglion Fiorentino, Tuscany, Italy, just steps away from San Filippino.

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Lana Rothe, Secretary

Lana RotheLana is a founding board member and the secretary of Friends of San Filippino. A native Texan, Lana first discovered the town of Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy in 2010 when she spent the summer there as a study abroad student through Texas A&M University.

Lana earned a B.S. in Communications & Journalism from Texas A&M University in 2011. Shortly after graduation, she travelled back to Castiglion Fiorentino to work as an au pair for a local Italian family.

Lana returned home to the San Antonio, Texas area in 2012 to begin her career in the fields of event management and communications. She has coordinated game day promotions for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association and VIP concert events for Pink, JayZ, BTR, Miley Cyrus, Journey, Steve Miller Band, and Ariana Grande.

Lana is eager to put her boundless energy and enthusiasm to work recruiting fellow millenials to the cause of restoring San Filippino.

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His Excellency Archbishop Riccardo Fontana, Honorary Member of the Board

Arcivescovo Riccardo Fontana

Archbishop Fontana is an honorary board member of Friends of San Filippino. He was born in Forte dei Marmi, in the province of Lucca, in Tuscany, Italy. He has served as archbishop of the Archdiocese of Spoleto - Norcia and is currently the archbishop in Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro Archdiocese, where includes the town of Castiglion Fiorentino.

Previously, Archbishop Fontana served as member of the diplomatic service of the Holy See, in several locations throughout the world. He had responsibilities for Indonesia, South-East Asia, Australia and Oceania. He is also Vice President of Caritas Italia and chairman of the Solidarity Fund of the Churches of Umbria.

Archbishop Fontana has been an enthusiastic supporter of Friends of San Filippino from the outset. His rich experience and wise counsel concerning all facets of church life and governance are invaluable to this project.

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 Jenifer Mangione Vogt, Member of the Board

Jenifer Mangione VogtJenifer has been a Friends of San Filippino board member since June 2016. She brings a wealth of experience and expertise as a marketing communications professional. Her twenty-year marketing career began at Fortune 500 corporations, including The Bank of New York and Mastercard International. In 2008, she launched JMV Media Group and has worked on marketing and public relations initiatives for Italian cultural organizations, including Il Circolo, The Italian Cultural Society of the Palm Beaches and Friends of the Uffizi Gallery. She has also assisted with the South Florida public relations for concerts with Italian musicians, including Zucchero, Il Volo, Ligabue and Caparezza.

Jenifer is passionate about Italian culture and her Italian heritage. She received her BA in Art History with a focus on Italian Art from Purchase College and a certificate in Roman Architecture from Yale University. She also writes frequently about a wide variety of artists, artistic genres and contemporary gallery events.

 

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Pat Wiese, Member of the Board
Pat WiesePat joined the Board of Friends of San Filippino in August 2016. She first discovered Castiglion Fiorentino in 2006 when, as a Texas A&M University (TAMU) professor, she made an exploratory visit to the Santa Chiara Study Center. Pat subsequently co-led several study abroad programs there for TAMU until 2014. Before her retirement in 2014, Pat and her TAMU colleague Janet Hammer were presented with honorary keys to the City of Castiglion Fiorentino in recognition of the work they and their hundreds of students have done with the Castiglion Fiorentino schools.

Pat holds a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching from Sam Houston State University, a Master of Arts in Education from George Washington University (GWU), and a Doctorate of Philosophy from Texas A&M University.  

Pat has enjoyed a rich and varied career as a business person and academic. After beginning her career in public education in Texas, she became a Congressional caseworker in Washington, D.C., worked in corporate risk management, then advanced into executive positions in the international marine and energy insurance brokerage business in London and Houston.  

Following her successful corporate career, Pat then joined the TAMU faculty, where she began her decade of teaching writing-intensive language arts and children’s literature courses and co-led multiple study abroad programs in France, Switzerland, England, Eastern Europe, and, her favorite: Castiglion Fiorentino!

Pat and her husband Larry purchased an apartment in their beloved Castiglion Fiorentino in 2012 and now spend several months each year there. She considers it an honor to serve on the Board of Friends of San Filippino and to work toward the worthy goal of restoring this treasure to its full beauty and usefulness.

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Simone Guarnacci, Member of the Board
Simone Guarnacci

Simone joined the board of directors in September 2016. He grew up in Castiglion Fiorentino, where both his parents were born, and where he and his family continue to live. He graduated from the local high school where he developed a passion for English language and culture.

Simone holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master of Arts with Honors in Management of Educational Services from the University of Siena. He also studied abroad at the University of Colorado. Simone is fluent in English and has written and published a book in English, Tuscan Days and Thoughts, under the pen name of Damien Napier.

Simone is a teacher at the local elementary and middle schools in Civitella in Val di Chiana. He is passionate about art history, psychology, sociology, history and sports. In his spare time, he volunteers as a translator for TED-Ed.

Simone is eager to contribute to Friends of San Filippino and is especially excited about serving as a liaison between this organization and its newly formed Italian sister association in Castiglion Fiorentino called Amici di San Filippino.

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