Answering the call earns Fort Worth teacher area recognition
FORT WORTH- Kenneth Scagel was firmly ensconced in his corporate job when he got a phone call from a mentor. The call changed his life.
A former teacher of his, a person he admired, asked him to leave his corporate job and become an educator. The request required not only deliberation but concurrence from his wife Elizabeth as the move would significantly impact the finances of his young family.
But, as Scagel put it, the corporate job, "just wasn’t right." He was good at what he did, but the job "wasn't good for my soul."
Today, some 20 years later, Scagel and his wife have seven children, and he is a teacher at Cassata Catholic High School in Fort Worth being recognized in the Fort Worth Magazine as one of the top educators in the city.
Scagel is passionate about his profession as well as the school where he is an English, Latin, and theology teacher. Cassata, a non-traditional diocesan high school with a student body from a variety of backgrounds and faiths, places an emphasis on supporting students who deal with learning differences, academic and medical accommodations, behavioral concerns, or limited family conditions. Yet Scagel doesn't sacrifice rigor for circumstances.
"I'm perfectly happy giving a kid something that may be too hard for them because I am there to shepherd them through the process," he said.
His theology course covers the covenants of the Old Testament, Plato, the Gospels, and Aristotle. He wants his students to understand that "the things of God and the things of the mind are not antithetical."
Scagel feels a sense of responsibility to prepare his students for the future regardless of where they go after Cassata.
"Our students are two steps away from being adults," Scagel said. "So, you have to train them that way. I have a very holistic view of how we serve our students. You don't serve the kid; you serve the adult the kid is going to be."
The recognition by Fort Worth Magazine was a surprise, and while Scagel has no idea who nominated him, he believed it to be “humbling and gratifying to know that someone thinks what I do is worthy of recognition."
“I am very proud of Mr. Scagel,” Cassata School Principal Dr. Maggie Harrison said. “It is well-deserved recognition.”
Both Scagel and Dr. Harrison were quick to point out that Cassata holds a team of talented teachers who all do good work.
"We are a tight-knit group of teachers at a unique and remarkable school," Scagel said. "This is recognition for all of us."
By Brenda Raney, a North Texas Catholic staff writer.