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MAKERS Moment

A Mutual Education

A Mutual Education

More From Dena

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Simmons explains her philosophy on teaching: "Give them the power to choose." 

Dena 's Biography

Source of Strength: Her mother
Philosophy on Life: Practice kindness everywhere you can.
Biggest Fear: Being powerless.
A Lesson in Sharing: She grew up in a one bedroom apartment in the Bronx that she shared with her mother and two sisters.

Dena Simmons is an activist, an educator, and also a student. Born to a resilient mother who escaped Antigua to come to the US, Simmons was raised in the Bronx and hopes to stay there. After graduating with honors from Middlebury College, Simmons returned to the Bronx through Teach for America as a middle school teacher. While she may teach in a classroom, she often learns outside of one. In 2007 she traveled to Antigua as a health volunteer for the Directorate of Gender Affairs to provide better health services for Dominican sex workers. She received a Fulbright grant to study the collaboration between schools and health agencies to prevent teen pregnancy in the Dominican Republic. She is also a 2004 Harry S. Truman Scholar and 2010 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. She is currently studying for her Doctorate of Education at Columbia University, Teachers College. Her research is focused on teacher preparedness as it relates to bullying in the school setting.

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