The Academy is very sad to share with you the news of Sira Metzinger’s passing. Sira served the school for a remarkable 41 years, teaching two generations of students French and Italian.
At the time of her retirement in 2014, Head of School Kolia O'Connor made the following comments about Sira:
"Over a career that began when Richard Nixon was still President, Sira has truly inspired and educated her students in French and Italian. When one speaks with alumni as I have the fortunate pleasure of doing, Sira’s name is among the pantheon of teachers most people single out as having made a transformative difference in their lives. Sira is the teacher that language students identify as having provided a level of instruction and passion for learning that subsequently allows them to place out of introductory language courses in college. She is the teacher about whom more students write me after they leave than almost any other. And Sira, herself, has been the recipient of numberless missives over the years from students and even parents extolling the difference she made, as a language teacher, as a mentor, and a role model.
A perfect example came from Stanford University, which in 2003 launched an initiative to recognize the extraordinarily talented high school teachers of their students. Peter Durning ’03, in nominating Sira for this honor, wrote:
Mrs. Metzinger has led me to pursue topics I would not have pursued, to love subjects I would not have loved, and to see as I would not have seen without her remarkable teaching. She would settle for nothing but my best, and in doing so, caused me to achieve what I never would have dreamed, and to hold myself to that same proud standard.
Perfectly tri-lingual, Sira modeled for students, in French and Italian, a native accent, as well as fluency, not only in terms of idiom but in terms of culture. Her high scholarly standards, informed by a passion for the language, people, and culture of France and Italy, infused her classes with a sense of excitement and discovery, where new old worlds were opened for her students."