Golden milestone: CCS recognizes Carmel High School alum for 50 years of service as science teacher, bus driver


When his parents moved to Carmel from Michigan in 1963, George Ohmer was heading into seventh grade. At age 11, he had no way of knowing he would still be involved in the school district more than 60 years later and how much the city would grow.

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George Ohmer is the lead bus driver for Prairie Trace Elementary. (Photo by Adam Seif)

“Carmel was a small town back then,” said Ohmer, who was honored at the April 15 school board meeting for 50 years of work at Carmel Clay Schools.

Ohmer, 71, was in the first class to attend Carmel Junior High School (now Carmel Middle School) and would go on to graduate from Carmel High School, where he met his wife, then Nancy Walton, in 1970.

Ohmer said it was a cadet teaching class at CHS that sparked his interest in the profession. The program allowed him to teach in an elementary classroom.

“I really enjoyed teaching and thought that’s what I’d like to do,” Ohmer said. “I knew that I really liked science and wanted to be in the science field.”

He double majored in biology and general science with a minor in education at Ball State University. He and Walton continued to date as she also attended Ball State and majored in elementary education.

Upon graduation in 1974, Ohmer searched for a teaching position.

“At the time, it was hard to get hired as a teacher. Unlike now, there was a teacher surplus and teaching jobs were few and far between,” Ohmer said. “The only offer I had was from Carmel.”

At the time, Clay Junior High School (now Clay Middle School) was set to open.

“They had to hire a whole new staff for that building. And so, I interviewed. They knew me. The administrators knew my parents,” Ohmer said.

CCS offered him a job teaching science.

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George Ohmer in the mid-’90s. He transferred from working at Clay Junior High School to Carmel High School around that time. (Photo courtesy of George Ohmer)

“So, 1974 was a pretty big year. I graduated from college and got married and got my first job teaching,” Ohmer said.

Ohmer taught at Clay for 21 years and transferred to CHS in 1995.

“(The district) decided to move the freshmen to the high school,” he said. “I decided to move to the high school in order to be able to continue teaching the higher-level life sciences.”

While teaching at CHS, Ohmer developed a human genetics course. He said this was his favorite class to teach.

“I loved that the students were juniors and seniors and all of them had plans on going to college and most had plans on becoming either doctors or nurses,” Ohmer said. “They were motivated and ideal students to have in the classroom situation.”

In 2010, he took an early retirement incentive and retired from teaching but knew he wanted to keep busy.

“I’ve always worked jobs ever since I was about 12 years old – paper routes and many little part-time jobs,” Ohmer said.

Taking only summers off, Ohmer started driving a bus route and now serves as lead bus driver for Prairie Trace Elementary School, where his granddaughters attend.

“It’s a great part-time job and has given me something to do,” Ohmer said. “It gets me up in the morning and I’m still home for quite a few hours in the middle of the day. I still have all the evenings and weekends and school vacation time off. It works out well.”

While he likes driving his bus routes, he does miss the personal connections with students that teaching provided.

“I really liked interacting with them. I see students on my bus, but I don’t have the opportunity to have long conversations with them and get to know them very well,” Ohmer said.

For now, Ohmer said “I’m going year by year” and has no immediate plans to retire.

“I’ve enjoyed my employment at Carmel. It’s been a great place to work. I don’t know if I would have lasted 50 years at a lot of other school corporations. I really liked everything about teaching there,” Ohmer said.

He credits the quality of the school system with much of the growth in Carmel.

“I think what the main draw is and why the population of Carmel has grown so much is because of the attractiveness of the schools,” Ohmer said.

His wife, Nancy, was born in Carmel and recalls watching the town grow exponentially starting in 1989.

“There was a humongous amount of change, and it came about quickly. I think when I first started teaching elementary there were maybe three elementaries, and by the time I was done it was 11 elementaries,” Nancy Ohmer said.

She taught at Orchard Park Elementary School, where she attended as a child, for 25 years, and five years at Woodbrook Elementary school, where the Ohmer’s three children attended. She retired in 2011.

Post-teaching, the Ohmers are thankful all three of their children live in the area. The family enjoys outdoor games and bonfires and are avid Detroit Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and University of Michigan fans.

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Nancy and George Ohmer on their wedding day, July 20, 1974. (Photo courtesy of George Ohmer)

Golden Anniversary

Longtime Carmel educators George and Nancy Ohmer met at Carmel High School in the late 1960s and will celebrate 50 years of marriage on July 20. They raised three children and have two granddaughters.