(Posted June 16, 2014)
By John Crutchfield, Staff Writer
For many London residents, this year’s Strawberry Festival parade grand marshal is a familiar face.
Jane Bartdorf, known to most as “Miss B,” was a teacher at London City Schools for 35 years. She has lived in London for 50 years, but still considers herself a newcomer and, as such, was surprised to be named grand marshal. Regardless, she said she is excited about being selected and looks forward to the event.
Batdorf is originally from the Osborn/Fairfield area which in 1950 became Fairborn, Ohio. Her father was named the first postmaster of the newly formed community. After high school, Batdorf went on to Ohio University where she graduated in 1964 with a teaching degree. She was hired almost immediately to teach in London for the princely annual sum of $4,200.
Anyone who attended London City Schools between 1964 to 1999 knew Miss B. Some will remember her as the physical education teacher who made the boys learn modern dance. For 30 years of her tenure, Batdorf coached cheerleading. Fewer may know that in her youth, she herself performed ballet and toe dance.
Over the years, Batdorf taught health and physical education and, at various times, taught in the elementary, middle and high schools. She also coached girls’ basketball for five years and remembers the days when girls’ teams had three players at each end of the court because it was believed that running the full length of the floor was too strenuous for girls.
Despite her retired status, Batdorf substitute teaches occasionally and is a time keeper for the track team.
Public education has been her life but not the entirety of it. Batdorf also is an active member of London First Presbyterian Church, where she is a sitting elder.
There have been many great moments in Batdorf’s life and career but one in particular stands out. In 1994, she was named the Ohio Health and Physical Education Educator of the Year.
Batdorf has a message she wants she share with fellow community members before performing her duties as grand marshal: “I know stories about every one of you, and every one of you knows stories about me. I won’t tell if you don’t tell,” she said with a laugh.