Who we are






Agnese Abate

Dr. Agnese Abate is President and parent of Italian Cultural Center Marco Polo since 2015. She serves as volunteer, assistant teachers, and all-purpose helper to make the experience at the Scuola as success for kids. Thanks to her and all the teachers efforts, Scuola Marco Polo grew from less than ten students in 2014 to about thirty students in 2019. Scuola Marco Polo is recognized by students and parents as a safe space to learn and live the Italian language and culture in a vibrant community for kids and adults.  

During the week, Agnese Abate is AP Chemistry and Science teacher at Malvern Prep School. She earned her PhD in Chemistry in 2006 from Politecnico of Milan, Italy. She also serves as Assistant Professor at Temple University where she conducts research in the field of Medicinal Chemistry.

“All human beings are your neighbour. Where human nature is shared, differences are always accidental.” (St. Augustine)

Alessia Cherici

Alessia “Ale” Cherici was born and raised in Arezzo, Italy, and earned her BA and MA in East Asian Languages and Cultures at Ca’ Foscari University, Venice. In 2009 she moved to China where she worked as an Italian language instructor and school manager for about eight years. In 2017, Ale started her PhD at Indiana University (IU), majoring in Chinese linguistics and minoring in Second Language Studies. During her years at IU, she taught a variety of language and area-studies courses, and conducted research in comparative morpho-syntax and foreign language acquisition. She eventually left academia and started to work as a Sr. Program Manager at Code2College, an organization that creates STEM career access for high school students through an internship preparation & placement program. Ale recently completed her doctoral degree and earned her PhD from IU. She still works at Code2College, while also doubling as a fitness instructor and a language teacher. In her spare time, Ale loves to work out and dance, learn foreign languages, and spend time with friends chatting, playing boardgames, and watching movies. 

Silvia Fragale

Buongiorno a tutti! Hello everyone!
My name is Silvia and I was born, raised, and educated in Italy, where I earned a Master’s Degree in Business and a Bachelor’s Degree in Language Mediation. I also spent several years living and working abroad, where I really enjoyed sharing my cultural background with others.

I am currently a teacher at Scuola Marco Polo, and I find this work fulfilling since it is a privilege to interact with bilingual children.
I am passionate about teaching the Italian language and have been studying world languages most of my life. I understand how challenging, but rewarding, it can be to learn a second language, therefore, I strive to convey my enthusiasm and encourage my students to improve their skills.

Cristiana La Selva

My name is Cristiana and I am a teacher at Scuola Marco Polo. I was born in Philadelphia, but my family is Italian (from Pescara, Abruzzo) and I lived in Italy for many years. I hold a master’s degree in Modern Languages, Literature and Translation Studies from La Sapienza, University of Rome. I started teaching Italian and ESL when I lived in Rome, during my college years. When I moved to Philadelphia, I began my collaboration with Scuola Marco Polo and I really enjoy it.
Being bilingual and having a passion for multilingual studies, I know the importance and benefits of speaking a second language. At Scuola Marco Polo, I work alongside the other teachers in helping our little students develop this ability through games, storytelling, role play,
songs, and much more. Scuola Marco Polo has given me the chance to keep a deep connection with my Italian side, to share my knowledge of Italian language and culture, to teach young children something that will benefit them now and in their future, and I am very thankful for

Andrea De Blasio

My name is Andrea De Blasio, I was born in Saronno, Varese and moved to Philadelphia in 2013. I am the Managing Director for ISENET-USA,LLC, a small biotech manufacturing company in the field of cancer research. I graduated from Drexel University in Chemical and Biological Engineering.

During my whole life I played soccer for many teams and attended 17 years of soccer school. In Philadelphia I joined a team and participated in the CASA Soccer League, and I also was selected for the Italian national team at the Philadelphia Unity Cup, a tournament organized every summer in Philadelphia.
My favorite soccer team is AC Milan and I love teaching what I learned during my soccer experience, but above all I love to put a smile on kids’ faces while playing a great sport as soccer.

My best quote is: “Il calcio non e’ uno sport di singoli ma di squadra. Non fate mai l’abitudine alla vittoria: non gli starete cosi simpatici a lungo” (Soccer is not a sport made by individuals, but teamwork. Never get used to victory, you will not be likeable to her for a long time) -Bobby Charlton-

Marco Circelli

I’m Marco Circelli, a native of Milan, Italy. I moved to Philadelphia in 2011 with my wife, Agnese, and our son, Jonathan. I’m a musician, economist, accountant, and auditor with a passion for bilingualism and connecting people and cultures.

I have a Master of Music in Saxophone from the Conservatorio di Musica “Giuseppe Verdi” Milano and a Master of Economics in Management of Commercial Enterprises from the Bocconi University, Milan. I also recently obtained an Associate Degree in Accounting from Eastern Gateway Community College, OH.

I’m currently volunteering as Secretary and Treasurer at the Scuola Marco Polo. I’m also a Clarinet Teaching Artist and taught for several programs (Play on Philly, Tune Up Philly!), providing opportunities for personal development to children through the study of music in communities that have little to no access to music education.

In 2023, I was appointed as State Auditor for the Liquor Control Board Division of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I am passionate about using my skills and experiences to make a positive impact on the world. I’m always looking for new ways to connect people and cultures, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.


staff and volunteers


Years Established

Get In Touch

Telephone: (267)221-7605

Email: scuolamarcopolo.phila@gmail.com