Director of Children and Adult Ministries
Ellen Despres serves as our Director of Children and Adult Ministries. She is married to our OPMC Director of Music, Nick Despres, and is the proud mother of two children. She also sings in the church praise team and chancel choir. Ellen came on staff in August of 2023, after a fulfilling ten years of teaching. She graduated from Jacksonville University where she received a Bachelors of Science degree with a major in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts and Science degree with a major in Education. Ellen also received a scholarship to minor in music at JU, as she is a trained classical vocalist. During that time she was cast in many operatic roles, such as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. Her favorite!
After graduating, Ellen began her teaching career in the Duval county public school system. She earned her certification in Exceptional Student Education, and then worked as a varying exceptionalities teacher for two years, where she provided ESE services to students that were enrolled in general education classrooms. This is when her love for teaching students with varying disabilities, neurodiversities, and diagnoses grew. She then spent her next two years teaching at North Florida Educational Institute, where she led the K-12 Spectrum ESE classroom. Ellen then completed one more year as a varying exceptionalities educator in Duval county public schools, before taking a leap of faith and joining the Diocese of St. Augustine’s Catholic school system. For the next five years, Ellen made a home at Morning Star School, a faith based institution that offers a unique learning environment specialized for children with diverse learning needs. There, she taught high school history, geography, government, and economics. She was also able to incorporate her passion in music, as she led the high school musical theatre department.
After ten years in education, Ellen accepted God’s call to be our Director of Children and Adult Ministries. She is overwhelmed by the love and the support of her church family, and looks forward to the journey ahead.