Ira Simmonds reveals Zenaida Katzen in ‘FROM SIBERIA TO ST. KITTS: A Teacher’s Journey’
Brooklyn, New York, April 14, 2018 – Author Ira Sumner Simmonds’ new book, “FROM SIBERIA TO ST. KITTS: A Teacher’s Journey,”’ is a captivating and deeply researched biography of Zenaida Katzen, a master of foreign language instruction who embraced a comprehensive approach to teaching.
Simmonds was a student of Katzen’s in the 1960’s on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, and after his retirement from 25 years with the New York City public school system, he was compelled to learn all he could about the special woman who inspired him to become an educator.
When she arrived in St. Kitts in 1961 to teach French and Spanish to teenagers (mostly boys), Zenaida Katzen (Zina) had already lived an extraordinary life in Siberia, China, France and Chile. What Simmonds uncovered during his five years of painstaking research is the complex story of a dynamic, driven, independent woman who dedicated her life to education and advancing the lives of children.
Zina Katzen wasn’t simply a French teacher or a Spanish teacher – she was an educator who believed in providing students with an experience while they were learning. In St. Kitts, she organized activities and programs outside the classroom, and was able to secure funding from a wealthy friend in China who supported her work. A chapter of Simmonds’ book includes letters between Zina and her benefactor, offering a unique perspective into how Zina carefully managed the financial, educational and extracurricular needs of her students, and revealing a more personal side of Zina – an animal lover who was devoted to her mother and aunt, both of whom lived with her in St. Kitts.
Simmonds’ story is beautifully written, thorough and includes photos of Zina, her students, friends, family and the places where she lived and taught. Thoughtfully placed throughout the narrative are French phrases and words, which contribute to the cadence of the story, and lend authenticity to its message.
“Everyone had a teacher who touched his or her life in a special way,” says Simmonds. “I spent five years on a research journey traveling to Chile, Hong Kong, Shanghai, St. Kitts and France. I wrote the book to tell the world about this teacher extraordinaire who has profoundly touched the lives of an untold number of students in China, Chile and the Caribbean.”
‘FROM SIBERIA TO ST. KITTS: A Teacher’s Journey’ is published in ebook format by eBookIt.com and is now available at popular online retailers including Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and Apple’s iBookstore.
Review copies of ‘FROM SIBERIA TO ST. KITTS: A Teacher’s Journey’ are available to media contacts upon request. Ira Simmonds is available for interviews.
About the Author
Born on the Caribbean island of Nevis, Ira Simmonds received a B.A. in French from St. Francis College, Brooklyn, New York, and M.A. and M.Ed. degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University, NYC. After a ten-year stint as House Manager at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, he spent the next twenty-five years in New York City Public Schools as a teacher, Assistant Principal and Acting Principal. He currently works as an educational consultant.
Since 2010, eBookIt.com (based in Sudbury, Massachusetts) has helped thousands of authors and publishers get their books converted to ebook format, and distributed to all the major ebook retailers, including Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Apple iBookstore, Kobo, Sony Readerstore, Ingram Digital, and Google eBookstore.
Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/3718101#ixzz5CgVYiFbR
Photo 1 – Ms Zenaida Katzen
Photo 2 – the group of St. Kitts-Nevis Grammar School boys with Ms. Katzen
Photo 3 – book cover