LIVINGSTON, NJ – Livingston High School special education teacher and head baseball coach, Michael “Mickey” Ennis, was honored during last week’s Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner for being named 2019 Educator of the Year for Livingston Public Schools.
A few days prior, Ennis was also honored at the Big L Club's annual senior pep rally, where he was presented with a Lancers T-shirt signed by all of his players. He was surrounded by friends, family and colleagues at the Crystal Plaza on Tuesday as Livingston High School (LHS) Principal Mark Stern introduced Ennis and the Livingston Township Council presented him with the award.
“Find a job you love and you will never work another day in your life—my parents told me that when I was about 20 years old,” said Ennis, whose parents were also educators and always had former students reaching out to tell stories about how they positively impacted their lives. “Today I have the best job in the district [and] I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by some of the finest people in education…I’ll leave you with these words that I try to live by each and every day that were given to me when I was just a little kid: try your best, have fun at whatever you do and always, always help others.”
Stern noted in his introduction that whether Ennis is “working with students developing job skills or placement or working with the team on the diamond,” he always appreciates “the importance of connection and the spirit of a handshake.”
Assistant Superintendent of Schools Lisa Steiger, who described Ennis as “a passionate special educator, dedicated coach, and influential mentor to many students within the school district,” also commended his efforts to connect his students with the community at large.
As a special education teacher over the last four years, Ennis teaches several courses that help to prepare students for life after LHS, including the Career Internship Program (CIP), a course designed to help students get ready for the challenges they will face as individuals, consumers and employees; CIP Co-op, which allows current life skill students the opportunity to go out into the community and gain valuable work experience at local businesses; and Community Based Instruction (CBI), a transition program that allows 18-to 21-year-old students to fully explore career interests in a structured learning experience on campus or in the community.
In Ennis’ role as special educator, Steiger said one of his greatest partnerships is with the district’s buildings and grounds department. Together, Ennis and the department created the Livingston Internship Program (LIP), allowing LHS students with special needs to intern with local professionals in the building trades.
“The partnerships continue with numerous local businesses in an effort to match students with the right job opportunities, giving them experiences that will guide future life decisions,” said Steiger.
As a coach, Ennis also helps to prepare athletes for the field while also stressing the importance of community to his players.
In addition to supporting the “Knock Cancer Out of the Park” pediatric cancer awareness and fundraising program in honor of a Livingston student who recently lost his battle with the disease, Ennis also initiated the “Blue-Green Shield” program, which pairs a player with a Livingston police officer each year to promote a positive relationship between youth and law enforcement and to instill a sense of town pride in all of his players.
To both of his roles, Mr. Ennis brings a passion for supporting young people and an unwavering faith in their ability to achieve their goals.
“Mickey works tirelessly to continue to make connections within the community to support students with all different needs as they explore their strengths, preferences, and interests,” said Steiger. “As a coach and mentor to an even larger population of students at LHS, Mickey brings his love of Livingston, his work and sports to help support and guide students of all abilities.”
Ennis thanked his two sons, Mickey and Steven, for their support, stating that he is prooud of the men they have both become. He also thanked his wife, Amy, who also works for the district as the Registrar/Coordinator of District Facilities, for being his best friend through it all.
TAPinto LIvingston will continue to highlight Livingston Chamber Awards recipients over the next few days.