New Unaka HS principal glad to ‘come home’

Published 8:51 am Friday, July 29, 2022

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By Angela Cutrer
Mike Ensor is excited about his new position as principal of Unaka High School, especially since he’s so familiar with the school.
“It’s coming home,” he said. “It was a chance to come home — I’ve been a teacher here, a coach, an assistant principal … and it’s just good to come home.”
Ensor was most recently principal at Siam Learning Center and before that was assistant principal at Unaka.
The past two months have been a whirlwind — an office to settle, people to hire, situations to straighten out and a school year to plan. “We’ve had tons of projects, both short-term and long-term,” he said. “The return to school takes prominence and this community is committed to the school, so I wanted an administrative team around me who are like-minded about this school.”
Ensor’s assistant principal is Teresa Taylor, another graduate of UHS. “She knows these kids and she loves this community,” Ensor said. “She’s a huge asset to have.”
Former principal Richard Thomas coached basketball when UHS won the state championship. Now he’ll serve as student services coordinator in charge of discipline and safety.
Athletic director Wes Wright previously served as assistant principal and teacher. “He was the final piece to the puzzle,” Ensor said. “These administrative team members believe in the same culture that made UHS so great back when we were students. We want these kids to be proud to wear the maroon, not just for sports, but also in an English class, or the body shop class, or the band. We are going to hold them to a higher standard as we strive to be the best school in the district.”
Ensor, whose wife Mitzi is a secretary at Hunter Elementary, has four stepchildren and four grandchildren. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and education; a master’s degree in administration and supervision; and a specialist’s degree in educational leadership. He wants to use this training to help bridge the gap between student and community in order to produce students who feel inspired and supported to be the best and do their best.
“I want our community to take pride in our school,” he said. “I want them to attend sporting events, band events and class events. I want them to feel free to set up a visit to the school and come look around. Come see the classrooms; come meet us.
“Every school needs its community. Donate funds or time. We will welcome the help. We want them to know they are welcomed. As we want to instill pride in our students, we know the community wants that, too.”
Ensor said he feels as though his faculty is a good mix of experienced teachers, new teachers and even former students who now teach.
“It’s up to me and the administrative team to blend everything together,” he said, adding that if everyone works together, the school can rise to new heights.

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