Maggie Ens is the City and Country School Shop teacher and is well known around the whole school. Though most people could recognize her in an instant because of her vibrant red hair and unique outfits, many do not know much about her personal life.
Maggie moved around a lot with her family in the Midwest. “I was born in Missouri and lived in five different states before the age of seven. When I was growing up, we had nobody because we were always moving. My dad was in advertising so we did not really have family around. But we have tons of people now and it keeps expanding,” Maggie said. “I am the oldest child and have one brother and three sisters. There’s Suzanne who’s an artist. Julia and Cate who are in the insurance business, and Jim. He’s a real estate lawyer.”
“I have a graduate degree in Art from Tyler School of Art,” said Maggie At first, she was interested in psychology and theater but later took jewelry making and art history classes and learned she wanted to continue exploring art. “I wanted to do more and I felt that it would be a good profession for me. It changes as your ideas change. I never thought I would teach wood shop, but I studied sculpture and woodworking.”
Before coming to C&C, Maggie taught art at various places. “I taught art in college and taught elementary school sculpture at Grace Church School.” But Maggie also shared that C&C was not the first time she ever did woodworking. “As a child, I would make things with wood and would not know how to connect them. My dad worked a little bit like a wood carver so we had tools but I never knew how to use them. Here kids can express themselves in materials that adults use, and express their own ideas, make games to play with each other and make and play with blocks,” shared Maggie.
However, Maggie first found out about C&C while she was teaching at another school. “I am now at C&C because I was teaching a weekend workshop at Baruch College using recyclable materials. A mother liked the way I interacted with the kids and invited me to her loft to do parties for her kids and their friends. She later introduced me to the Principal of C&C and I was a floater. I got lucky because a year after I was a floater, Ian, who was the shop teacher, retired.”
“There were some educators who have been here for a very long time who had lots of wisdom and they took me under their wing since I was very passionate about becoming a very good teacher. The way they interacted with the students made me realize that I can come here and learn too. Because you know, children are our future.”
During Maggie’s time at C&C, she witnessed the school change many times. She traveled with Shop as it relocated seven times within five years. There were four different locations in the thirteenth street building and three in the twelfth street building. It was first located by Reem’s office in the thirteenth street building but moved around between the middle school directors office, across from the VIIIs, the IIs room, the Xs or XIs’ room, and the nurse's office. However, the Xs or XIs’ room used to be an art room before it became Shop for one or two years. In the twelfth street building, Shop moved between Scott’s office, Katie's’ room [IXsK], and the Shop’s current location by the entrance to the twelfth street building. “The last location, before this, was where the nurse's office is.” With moving around seven times in C&C’s primitive years, it would be great for the Shop to finally stay where it is. “This room is a great place to finally be. I've been in this location for as many as five years. I don’t want to move around anymore. Knock on wood,” shared Maggie.
Maggie has not only experienced many things in her personal life but also has seen the development and change at C&C over the years. She has been here for a long time and plans on staying for many more years. “I am finishing my 29th year. Hard to believe, it went fast.”
“I love a community where everyone knows each other by their first names,” Maggie said. “When I first saw the outdoor blocks that the smaller children use, they were building sculptures bigger than them, and they do it every day. They take it for granted and do not notice how special it really really is.”