James P. Cummings
James P. Cummings was born and raised in Wisconsin, and has lived in Palm Beach County, Fl since 1995. He earned a BA in History and International Studies from Macalester College, in St. Paul, MN and an MA in History from the University of WI-Madison. He served as a WorldTeach volunteer in western Kenya in 1987-88, where his deep interest in Kenya and Africa was truly born. He has close to 25 years teaching experience, having taught at Ebusiloli Secondary School in Bunyore, Kenya, The Prairie School, in Racine, WI, The Benjamin School in North Palm Beach, Fl, and Seminole Ridge Community H.S., in Loxahatchee, FL. He and Bruce Huber founded Kijana Educational Empowerment Initiative in 2002. He has travelled back to Kenya over 25 times since serving as a volunteer. He has brought over 50 Americans to visit the communities in Western Kenya and initiated and orchestrated cross-cultural visits to the United States of many Kenyans. He organized and served as link teacher for two month-long student expeditions to Tanzania and South Africa. He was recognized as a Distinguished Educator three times in the early 2000s by Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and won a Lifetime Achievement Award from his high school, St. Mary Central H.S, in Neenah, WI. Kijana Educational Empowerment Initiative was named an Extraordinary Charity in 2013 and 2014 by Extraordinary Charities of Palm Beach County.
Bruce A. Huber, an educator, accomplished musician, instrument teacher, artist, and avid SCUBA diver. He has taught at the Oakwood School in Poughkeepsie, NY, The Good Hope School on St. Croix, in the US Virgin Islands, and at The Benjamin School, in Palm Beach County, FL. He holds a BA and MFA from Band College in NY. He is a co-founder of the organization, along with James P. Cummings. He has travelled to Kenya three times and developed the physical architectural vision of the Mwituha Library and amphitheater as well as the vision for the site plan of our new Kijana Global Innovation School.
Mark Madison is the Historian and Manager of the Branch of Heritage and Partnerships for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In that position he manages a museum, archives, partnerships, and youth programs relating to wildlife conservation. He has a doctorate in the History of Science from Harvard University and Biology and History degrees from Macalester College. He has taught at Harvard University, University of Melbourne (Australia), and Shepherd University. Prior to that he spent three years in the Philippines doing tropical reforestation as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer. He is a founding board member of Kijana Educational Empowerment Initiative, having served on the Board since 2002.
Mary M. Ngati is a licenced real estate broker with offices in the United States and in Kenya. Born in Kenya, Ms. Ngati migrated to the United States in 1990 and opened and ran a retail store in Key West, FL before relocating to West Palm Beach, FL. Ms. Ngati spends half the year in the United States and half the year in Kenya and has extensive experience as a small scale entrepreneur in both countries. Consequently, she is well-versed in the business and social cultures of both countries. She understands the challenges of developing a business from the ground up with limited resources.
Lynne Feyk is an award-winning teacher with over 30 years of experience in secondary school education and administration. She began her educational career in high schools in Pennsylvania and Georgia, serving in a variety of teaching and administrative roles. Lynne moved to Florida in 1992 joining the English Department at The Benjamin School. As an English teacher and later College Counselor at TBS and Assistant Director of College Guidance at Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida, Lynne focused on helping students in developing their writing skills and crafting their college essays. She now works as an independent counselor with the College Admissions Counseling Group in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lynne holds a BA in English from Dickinson College and a Masters of Education from Temple University, with additional graduate level work at UCLA and Trinity College, Dublin.
Chet and Helen Zientek
Helen and Chet, both retired, are veteran community volunteers. Helen’s interests center around projects for children and Chet’s passion is high school robotics. Both are members of the Lake Norman Kiwanis Club, Cornelius NC and strongly support the Kiwanis’ statement “serving the children of the world, one child, one community at a time.” Helen and Chet have their own foundation, April is for Authors Foundation, which sponsors BAM WPB, a festival of books, arts and music for children of all ages in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 2019, they participated in the Kijana Culture and Collaborative Expedition to Kenya. Helen and Chet and Kijana President, James P. Cummings, met through common Florida Kiwanis Division 20 memberships and activities.
John Billingsley is an environmental engineer in Milwaukee, WI. He has worked with solar projects and wastewater treatment. He was born in Zambia, and raised in Racine, WI. He attended the Prairie School, where he was a 9th grade World History student of Kijana President, James P. Cummings. He served in the US Marine Corps for four years. He was a consultant/engineer for the city of Atlanta transit system for eight years. He has established a land management and consultancy firm in Zambia and has worked with other African-centered NGO’s. He is deeply dedicated to the educational and social uplifting of youth of Africa.
Rhinah was born in Vihiga County, Western Kenya. She attended Ebusiloli Secondary School, Kijana Educational Empowerment Initiative’s Flagship School from 2001 to 2005. In 2003, when Rhinah’s mum couldn’t afford her tuition, Kijana founder, Jim Cummings stepped in to pay it for the rest of her high school years. Rhinah became the first girl from Ebusiloli to qualify to join the university on a government subsidized program in 2007. Many others have since followed in her footsteps. After beginning her university studies at The University of Nairobi, she applied to Zawadi Africa, and was awarded a scholarship to study in the United States of America and was accepted at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock Arkansas from the fall of 2008. In addition to attaining a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Rhinah currently holds an MBA from Lynn University, in Boca Raton, FL and a Master of Science in Project Management from Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. She currently resides in the greater Boston area and works with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Education as a Software Business Analyst/Project Manager.
John Slocum was born in Philadelphia and spent his early childhood there. He graduated from high school in Heidelberg, Germany. He has a variety of business experiences, particularly in the non-profit sector. He has worked with over 20 non-profits, assisting many in development from the ground up and has served in many capacities from board member to executive director. He is a former pharmaceutical executive and founder of the Servant Leader Meet Up Group. He has a BS degree in Information Technology from Barry University. He is the author of the book, Science of Feeling Good: Unleashing the Power of the Heart (2020). He believes that love is the only glue that can bind us all together. He is a world citizen and spends part of the year presently in Colombia.