Katie Ott

(NCE PHOTO/GREGORY MYERS)

Katie Ott graduated from Purdue this past May and started at South Newton this summer.

KENTLAND — There is a new face in the South Newton Agricultural Department.

Katie Ott graduated from Purdue this past May and started at South Newton this summer.

“I really wasn’t big in Ag in high school but I was a 10-year FFA member and I wanted to be an Extension educator,” said Ott. “I didn’t change majors in college, I just changed what I wanted to be. At Purdue, I saw how Ag in the classroom looked like and I felt I could try to make a difference this way.”

Ott took over at South Newton for longtime Ag educator Darrell Allen, who retired in the spring.

“The classes have been great so far and the kids have been very receptive, but it is obvious they miss Mr. Allen,” added Ott. “I feel the students are all excited to learn new things and I just ask that they come to the classroom with a good attitude.”

Coming from Franklin High School where she had more than 450 kids in her graduating class to South Newton was an eye-opener for Ott.

“When I was in high school, I saw a new face every single day,” Ott said. “South Newton is such a small school that everyone knows everyone, which is nice. The smaller classroom sizes have so many benefits for the students. It makes for a more intimate learning atmosphere and provides more opportunities for hands-on learning.”

All it took was one visit for Ott to know that South Newton was where she wanted to start her educational career.

“I visited the school in February and I talked about the program with Mr. Armbruster and his vision and my vision for the program lined up so well,” Ott said. “Our goals for the students and the program were also so similar and I knew I wasn’t going to find a better fit for me. South Newton has such a great history for its FFA and Ag department. I am really excited to give every kid an opportunity to pursue their interests. That is one of the main reasons I became a teacher. I want to open as many doors as I can for my students.”