2011, CHSS, Coccia, Inserra, Italian Teacher

For Teachers

Coccia-Inserra Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Teaching of Italian (K-12)Coccia-Inserra Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Teaching of Italian (K-12)

The Coccia-Inserra Award honors a teacher of Italian at the K-12 level, and is generously donated by Coccia Foundation in the name and memory of its founder, Cav. Joseph Coccia, Jr., and by Mr. Lawrence R. Inserra, Jr.   Founded in 1994 by Joseph and Elda Coccia, Coccia Foundation aggressively pursues the preservation and promotion of Italian culture, in conjunction with its ‘academic arm,’ the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America at Montclair State University.  Mr. Inserra, CEO of Inserra Supermarkets, Inc., also contributes significantly to the rich field of Italian American Studies, having instituted in 2011 the Theresa and Lawrence R. Inserra Endowed Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies, also housed at Montclair State University.

Accompanying the award is a generous $5000 prize. The funds are to be allocated as follows:

a) $2500 is to be used exclusively to advance the Italian language and culture curriculum and programming for classroom and field trip use; and

b) $2500 is to be dedicated to the professional development of the winning teacher (for direct payment of academic fees to an institution of professional development in Italian language and culture at home or abroad).

Eligible for the award are full-time language teachers certified as teachers of Italian, who are teaching a minimum of two classes of Italian at the K-12 level.   Candidates are evaluated on the following criteria: lesson planning and preparation, instructional innovations, and involvement in professional associations and relevant community activities outside the classroom.

A Blue Ribbon Panel of experts has been established to oversee the process and select the award recipient. Since its inception, the Dirigente Scolastico of the Consulate General of Italy in New York has served on the panel of judges.

  • Dr. Anthony Julian Tamburri, Distinguished Professor of European Languages and Literatures and Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College (New York, New York) [Panel Chair]
  • Dr. Andrea Baldi, Professor of Italian, Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey)
  • Dirigente Scolastico, Consulate General of Italy in New York (New York, New York)
  • Dr. Roberto Dolci, Associate Professor of Linguistics, Università per Stranieri di Perugia  (Perugia, Italy)

Dr. Clorinda Donato, George L. Graziadio Chair of Italian Studies, California State University,Long Beach (Long Beach, California)

The Coccia-Inserra Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Teaching of Italian (K-12) is presented at the annual professional development program, “Teaching Italian Symposium/Workshops for Instructional Materials,” a collaboration between the Coccia Institute and the Italian program, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, held each fall at Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey.

Coccia Inserra Award Recipient Elisa Oliverio

2017, Coccia Inserra Award Recipient Elisa Oliverio (International Studies Preparatory Academy, Coral Gables, Florida)


Coccia Inserra Award Recipient Gina Gallo 2016

2016, Coccia Inserra Award Recipient Gina Gallo (Bristol Central High School, Bristol, Connecticut)


Coccia Inserra Award Recipient Raffaella Spilotro 2015

2015, Coccia Inserra Award Recipient Raffaella Spilotro (Oak Park and River Forest High School, Chicago, Illinois)


Coccia Inserra Award Recipient Barbara Borghi 2014

2014, Coccia Inserra Award Recipient Barbara Borghi (Pascack Valley High School, Hillsdale, New Jersey)


Coccia Inserra Award Recipient 2013 Ida Nolemi Lanza

2013, Coccia Inserra Award Recipient Ida Nolemi Lanza (San Pedro High School, San Pedro, California)


2012, Coccia Inserra Award Recipient Maria Abate DeBlasio

2012, Coccia Inserra Award Recipient Maria Abate DeBlasio (Palisades Park Jr-Sr. High School)


2011, Coccia Inserra Italian Teaching Award Rosalie Romano

2011, Coccia Inserra Award for Teaching of Italian, winner Rosalie Romano (St. Peter’s Prep Jersey City, New Jersey)


2010, Coccia Inserra Award for Teaching of Italian, winner Rina Miraglia, Hohokus Public School in green shirt with Elisa Coccia in blue jacket.

2010, Coccia Inserra Award for Teaching of Italian, winner Rina Miraglia, (Hohokus Public School Ho-Ho- Kus, New Jersey)