The women, working moms, jugglers and dreamers behind Girotondo are two moms brought together by their love of Italian culture, Brooklyn, and of course children.

The direttrici are the running engine behind Girotondo. Their vision and entrepreneurial spirit make it possible. Veronica lives in the brownstone that houses Giro so she is a constant presence there. Elizabeth does weekly check-ins coming from Williamsburg.

While the direttrici oversee the program and are the leaders, the teachers are the day-to-day point of contact for the families; their love and energy make it the gem of a daycare program that it is.

Le maestre, our teachers

Mara Clemente

Mara was born in Bari, a small town in Puglia, the region that is the heel to the boot-shaped Italy. She moved to New York seven years ago. She is a freelance portrait photographer and she has always loved children, their spontaneity and their truth. She worked as a babysitter during her photography workshops around Italy and now that she has the chance to work as a photographer and also be with children, she feels she won the lotto. She loves music very much, in fact she always takes a few minutes of the day to let the kids dance to her favorite tunes and have fun. Among many other things, Mara’s presence ensures Girotondo children always have the sleekest portraits in town.

Marlene Loyola

Marlene was born in Peru and grew up in Milan, the most cosmopolitan city in the North of Italy, and home to a lively South American community that has shaped the growth of the city since the Nineties. Her steady and calm energy is very soothing to the youngest children, therefore she spends most of the time with the littlest ones. She lives in the Bronx with her two children, 13 and 17 years old, and brings her motherly experience and wisdom to the Giro team. Marlene is particularly loved by all the girls with long hair at Girotondo because she can help them style fantastic hairdos and find fun ways to look their most confident selves.

Claudia Cardaci

Claudia comes originally from Sicily, the main island of Southern Italy, but also lived in Tuscany and beyond the Italian border in Germany, before recently moving to New York with her husband. Besides her love for plant-based cooking and being a freelance yoga teacher, she also has a great passion for children, with whom she connects naturally.

Antonella Cosimo

Tiny but mighty Antonella grew up in sunny Calabria, southern Italy. She loves going to the beach, hiking in nature, eating good food, and of course kids! Like many Italians, she initially came to NY just for vacation but the city knows how to seduce those who keep an open heart, so she found herself falling in love with it more and more. She took a leap of faith and decided to stay to follow her dreams and keep being passionate about what makes her happy. Today, thanks to Giro, she has a job that she truly enjoys and keeps her grounded and connected to her culture, which she is able to pass on to the children.

Le direttrici, our founders

Veronica Diaferia, Ethan and Miles's mom

The oldest of four, Veronica was born and raised in Varese, a small town between Milan and Lake Como. She left Northern Italy to pursue a career in film production in New York twenty years ago. She fell in love with the city and never left after establishing that the pizza scene was excellent, and now calls Brooklyn home. She owns a production company responsible for some of the annoying ads that interrupt your streaming content but also for some fun things on Netflix and similar. Today she lives in Bedstuy with her husband Luca, a photographer from Milan, and her two boys, Ethan and Miles, both bilingual Girotondo graduates who always look forward to their summertime in Italy.

Elizabeth Sullivan, Julianna's mom

Also the oldest of four and hailing from Boston, Elizabeth moved to Italy after college with an Italian vocabulary of one word – “ciao” – and left six years later a fluent speaker and a tireless, dedicated Italophile. A former professional ballerina and current wellness coach to pre-professional ballet dancers, Elizabeth coaches young dancers and their parents in her private practice, helping them navigate the ins and outs of the dance world. She lives in Williamsburg with her daughter Julianna, 9, who has vivid memories of being fed bowls of custard by Italian waitresses and is a lucky Giro graduate.