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Scecina Teacher Spotlight: Jeff Getty, social studies, Marine Corps veteran

By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications 

Jeff Getty came to Scecina in roundabout way. After graduating from high school, he didn’t go straight to college but instead enlisted in the Marines. It was 2003, the post-9/11 era. More about that later. 

Now at Scecina for four years, he’s found his passion: teaching high school. He finds a connection with teenagers, and he also brings his military experience to his teaching in varied ways. 

Mr. Getty, who majored in history at IUPUI, teaches Government, Psychology, Sociology, Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology, AP U.S. History, and Developmental Skills. His favorite is AP Psychology because of his connection through his own combat-related struggles and triumphs. 

“I bring in personal stories from my time in the Marines that interest and engage the kids,” he said. “I have personal stories about everything from depth perception and night vision goggles to adrenaline rushes during a combat mission to dealing with issues like depression and anxiety. I just hope the kids get something out of hearing my personal stories, which are all connected to the textbook we are using.” 

His military experience comes in handy in different ways when teaching social studies. In the Marine Corps, he served with men from all different backgrounds. 

“In the Marines I learned that not all people learn the same, and that individualized instruction is sometimes necessary for us to accomplish our mission,” he explained. “At Scecina our mission is for students to obtain education excellence, be lifelong learners and live as servant leaders, and to achieve that mission as a school we need to make sure that every individual is giving their best effort. No matter what role we have, we all have to do our job the best we can, and if we do that, we will accomplish our mission.” 

Post-9/11 military enlistee
Mr. Getty signed papers to enlist during his junior year of high school, about two years after Sept. 11, 2001. 

“I am grouped with the post-9/11 group (of military enlistees) because it had a very big effect on us. I saw 9/11 happening from my sophomore social studies classroom as we sat around the whole day and watched TV reports. That experience made me very angry, but very proud that we could pull through something that terrible as a country.” 

The next year, when he saw that U.S. troops would be heading to the Middle East, he decided to enlist. 

“Part of me wanted to do something very noble in fighting to defend my country and part of me want to do something really cool in fighting in combat,” he said. “I knew I could go to college any time, so I put that off while I served in the Marine Corps Infantry.” 

His military experience took him from Indianapolis to California, to Japan and then to combat in Iraq. With the 2nd Battalion 4th Marines in Okinawa, he traveled around the Pacific training other countries’ militaries. His second deployment was to Iraq for 10 months, mainly in Haditha and Barwana. He helped secure those Iraqi cities, helping to locate high-value individuals and providing security for construction and medical teams so they could serve the people in those areas. 

After Iraq, he became an Urban Warfare instructor for reservist Marines and military personnel from other countries, teaching them what to expect and how to operate in cities throughout Iraq. 

Back in the U.S., Mr. Getty says he dealt with the issues common in combat veterans: post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, and anxiety. That spurred his interest in psychology, a subject he now teaches. 

“Toward the end of my Marine Corps career, I had to prioritize my life a bit. I realized that having a family, being a good father and good husband were at the top of my list. But I also knew that being an instructor and preparing other Marines with the skills they would need to survive and be successful in Iraq was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” he said. “I did not want to start a family while in the Marines, but I still felt that my calling was to be a teacher, I would just be teaching a different population. I felt like I could use my skills and my experience to help kids in the classroom not only learn but make good choices as they go forward in life.” 

Mr. Getty now is married to Aimee and they have a 1-year-old son, Solly. And he loves coming to work each day as a teacher.