I am trying to come up with something to say about the OUA Staff, about how no matter what happened someone had an answer and an easy fix, and about how you guys made it really easy for me to feel safe and like no matter what happened there was a plan and a way to fix it all, but that experience of having what I am calling my OUA Family just leaves me at a loss for words. I would have been completely lost without all of you. I don't think I could have done it without feeling like all of you guys had my back, and I can't thank you guys enough for allowing me to have this experience with the comfort of knowing you were there for me.
- Sarah Ex, OU in Arezzo Spring 2013
Faculty & Staff
Kirk Duclaux, Director of Italian Programs
Kirk Duclaux is OU’s on-site Director of Italian programs in Italy. He lives in Italy with his wife, Charlotte, and their two sons, Max and Alessio, teaching Italian Decorative Complexes and overseeing the program on the ground in Arezzo. He received his undergraduate degree in Art History from the University of Cincinnati and his graduate degree from Syracuse University's Renaissance Art History Program in Florence, Italy. Kirk has been traveling around Italy and educating people about art for years. He worked as a guide for the American Embassy in Rome and the American Consulate in Florence before building up OU’s own study abroad program, which is today thriving in the heart of Tuscany.
Charlotte Duclaux, Director of Student Affairs
Charlotte Duclaux is OUA’s on-site Director of Student Affairs in Italy. She is currently living in Arezzo with her husband Kirk and their two sons, Max and Alessio. Charlotte oversees student’s housing, incoming orientation and information sessions and student cultural activities. She received her undergraduate degree in Spanish and Secondary Education from the University of Cincinnati and her graduate degree in Hispanic Civilization at New York University in Madrid. Charlotte has been living abroad for most of her professional career, in both Spain and Italy. She has been an educator and administrative coordinator for years and joined the OU staff in 2009. As a former study abroad student herself, she understands the challenges that OU students can experience when living in a foreign country and tries to help OU students get the most out of the study abroad experience.
Marta Agnelli, Finance and Office Manager
Marta Agnelli was born and raised in Arezzo and at the age of 19 moved to Florence to study at the Faculty of Literature and Philosophy, where she got a degree in Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures. As a teenager she had the opportunity to stay for long periods in the US and to travel throughout Europe. Before graduating, she worked in England as Group and Activity Leader for Italian students and in Austria as Italian Language Lecturer for High School. She worked for an American multinational company in Florence for 12 years before joining the OUA team in 2010. She lives in Arezzo with her husband Francesco and their two children, Michelangelo and Olivia.
Ursula Armstrong, Special Program Coordinator
Ursula Armstrong oversees the OUA summer programs that color the town of Arezzo from May through July. She was born and grew up in the UK, where she got her undergraduate degree at the University of East Anglia in English and American Literature. She then went on to study English as a foreign language and came to Italy to teach. During her first year in the country she fell in love with the Italian language, culture and way of life and decided to prolong her experience there. She now lives in Arezzo with her husband and three children, Isobel, Giovanni and Jamie. After several years of language teaching, she began working with an Italian nonprofit in the field of Peace Education. This experience was to last 10 years, and allowed her to work with young adults from all over the world both as an educator and administrator. She has recently joined the OUA team and is looking forward to enhancing the summer experience for OU study abroad students and faculty.
Lucio Bianchi, Student Services Coordinator
Lucio Bianchi was born and raised in the Arezzo area. He has an undergraduate degree in Foreign Languages and Cultural Mediation from the Universita’ degli Studi di Siena in Arezzo. He knows a lot about OU campus life because he won a grant to study at the University of Oklahoma in Norman during the fall of 2008. It was one of the most enriching experiences he had ever had and he fell in love with the philosophy of colleges and the approach that English-speaking countries have towards higher education. Lucio is an easy-going person who likes to meet new people and to learn new perspectives because he believes that recognizing differences in others can help a person enrich him/herself.
Kaydee Dyer, OU in Arezzo Study Abroad Adviser
Kaydee Dyer earned a master's degree in Adult and Higher Education at the University of Oklahoma in 2013. During her graduate program, she served as the OU in Arezzo Graduate Resident Director in Arezzo, Italy. Kaydee also has a BA in Public Relations and minor in Nonprofit Management from the University of Oklahoma. In her spare time she likes to travel and spend time with her golden retriever.
Giulia Lombardi, Administrative Assistant
Giulia Lombardi is the OUA Administrative Assistant. She was born and raised in Arezzo. At the age of 18, she moved to Perugia to study at University, where she graduated in Communications and International Relations. Before her master’s degree, she had the chance to study abroad for a year and do an internship in Spain, thanks to the Erasmus Programme. After several years in Rome, where she worked for nonprofit organizations and a school administration office, she decided to move back to Arezzo with her husband and son. Giulia joined the OUA team in 2017, first as a Summer Assistant and then as an Administrative Assistant. She really likes working with international students and faculty and thinks that studying abroad is an essential part of lifelong learning.
Leanna Payton, Center Coordinator, Kathleen and Francis Rooney Family Residential Learning Center
Leanna Payton oversees the daily operations and functions of the Kathleen and Francis Rooney Family Residential Learning Center and works closely with the students to ensure their success while residing in the monastery. From facilitating maintenance to being a listening ear for students, Leanna will ensure students receive the finest service while living and studying in Arezzo. Leanna is from Benton, Arkansas and earned a BA in Broadcast Journalism in 2009 from the University of Arkansas. She continued her education at the University of Oklahoma and in 2011 earned a master's in Adult and Higher Education with an emphasis in Student Affairs. Upon graduating, Leanna continued her education and worked for the OU in Arezzo program as the first Graduate Resident Director from 2011–2012. She then served for three years as a Residence Hall Director at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Leanna joined the OUA team again in July 2015 as the first Center Coordinator. Working for OUA combines her passion of helping college students succeed with her love of adventure, and she promises the most amazing experience for OUA Sooners!
Patrizia Ghezzi, Italian Language Instructor
Patrizia Ghezzi was born and raised in Arezzo where she lives with her husband and son. She teaches Italian and has a love for languages. She is fluent in English, with a British accent! She received her graduate degree in English Language and Literature at the University of Florence. She studied abroad to improve her English and she considers this experience one of the best of her life. She has worked as a professional translator and freelance teacher of English for state-run schools and private organizations and companies. At a certain point of her career she realized that she wanted a change. In 2005, she obtained a diploma to teach Italian as a Foreign Language at the University of Siena. She started teaching Italian and understood that this was the professional experience that she was looking for. Patrizia has been teaching for OU in Arezzo since 2010.
Antonio Cioni, Italian Language Instructor
Antonio Cioni was born and raised in Anghiari, a small village in Tuscany. He received his bachelor’s degree in Cultural Heritage from the Università di Perugia and his master’s degree in Anthropology and Etnology from Bologna University. In 2010 Antonio earned a certification for teaching Italian as a second language from Siena University. He worked with immigrants, refugees after Arabic spring, English and American people residing in Italy as well as the London Southbank Orchestra, teaching Italian to Simon Over, the Director of the Westminster Choir. Antonio also taught Italian at Rondine Cittadella della Pace, a peace-building organization based in Tuscany where students come from countries in conflict to study together, and Meredith College’s abroad program in Sansepolcro.