The Beech Grove High School Alumni Association has named Jeff Ott as its Teacher of the Year.
A pillar in the educational ranks, Ott has been a mainstay at the middle school since 1974. He has primarily taught social studies, although he did teach English for a while early in his career. He taught world geography to members on the school’s Team Einstein from 2002-13 and coached football from 1974-78 and track and field from 1982-84.
And Ott was a Hornet long before joining Beech Grove Schools, as he graduated from Angola High (also the Hornets) in 1970. He was in the top 10 of his graduating class and won various awards in football and baseball. He worked in a soft drink factory during the summers.
The son of Phyllis and Leonard Ott and a former member of the Air Force, he was born Oct. 29, 1951, in Angola.
He graduated from Ball State in 1974 with a degree in education and major concentrations in U.S. history and political science and a minor in English. He earned his master’s from Butler in 1979.
Ott married Laura Miller on June 21, 1986. Their daughter, Hillary, attends college and plans on becoming an occupational therapist.
Outside of the classroom, Ott started working at basketball games at Market Square Arena in 1977. When MSA was imploded, he took his talents to Conseco Fieldhouse, later Bankers Life, where he still works at Indiana Pacers, college and high school games. He said the most thrilling moment in his 37 years of all those events was when the Lady Hornets won the 2003 state championship.
He enjoys attending Beech Grove athletic events and has been an avid fan of the Pacers since 1974, Indianapolis Colts since ’84 and Detroit Tigers since ’62.
Ott has found memories of trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northeastern Minnesota during the 1970s. He has canoed various streams and rivers in Indiana and has been a frequent visitor to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks over the years.
He was a desk clerk and bellman at Yellowstone hotels during the summers from 1980-85. Hiking, mountain climbing, camping, rafting, canoeing and photography occupied all of his free time.
Ott enjoys reading nonfiction and poetry and watching news and sports programs and documentaries produced by PBS, the History Channel and National Geographic.
When traveling, he and his wife like to visit friends, sightsee and explore museums and historical sites.