Melbourne Central Catholic teacher honored for achievements
By Meagan McGone
BREVARD -- A local Catholic school educator was recently recognized as High School Teacher of the Year for the Diocese of Orlando.
Daniel Ensell, campus minister and head of the religion department at Melbourne Central Catholic, took home "Teacher of the Year" at the Diocese of Orlando Distinguished Catholic School Educator Award Ceremony in January.
Melbourne Central Catholic principal Tom Armstrong said that Mr. Ensell's role at the school has significantly improved its culture.
"As campus minister and religion department head, Daniel has revitalized the Catholicity at our school," Mr. Armstrong said.
Mr. Ensell created a "house system" at Melbourne Central Catholic, in which all students are randomly assigned to a "house" and earn points for their "house" with good grades, good behavior and participation.
The creative and competitive environment has encouraged the sense of community in a positive environment.
"How we educate our children is important when we approach what it means to be Catholic educators," Mr. Ensell said. "Students may only spend one hour in theology courses, but the lessons they learn should be applied to all that they do."
Mr. Ensell, who is working toward his master's degree in religious studies from New York's Fordham University, will receive $1,000 and tickets to an Orlando Magic game, where he will be honored during an on-court half-time ceremony, as part of winning the award.
In addition to Mr. Ensell's recognition, two other educators were recognized for their achievements: Margaret Curran, of Annunciation Catholic Academy in Altamonte Springs, who won Administrator of the Year; and Barbara Schirard, of All Souls Catholic School in Sanford, who was named Elementary School Teacher of the Year.
Henry Fortier, who oversees 37 schools and more than 14,000 students as the superintendent of schools and secretary of faith formation for the Diocese of Orlando, said the achievements of the award winners were a testament to the Catholic education system.
"The commitment of our educational professionals is something extraordinary," Mr. Fortier said. "Our teachers and administrators are teaching to a higher standard. They are teaching to the test of a Christian life - that mission is why we are so successful in teaching the academic part. It's why our students graduate from Catholic schools to perform at the very highest levels, wherever they find themselves."