Theodore Opderbeck

Waldwick High School, Waldwick, NJ

Ted Opderbeck has been teaching economics, law, and history at Waldwick High School in Waldwick, NJ for the past 21 years. During that time, Ted has designed an extensive and innovative economics program within the school and teaches AP Economics, Honors Economics I and II, and Principles of Economics/Personal Finance as well as Criminal Procedure and U.S. History.

Ted received a B.A. in History with a minor in Business Administration/Economics from Gordon College. He then attended Seton Hall Law School prior to receiving an M.A. in Teaching from Montclair State University.

With a strong belief that economics should extend beyond the classroom walls, Ted has organized and advised several clubs and activities, including the Fed Challenge, Euro Challenge, and the Waldwick High School Students for Global Awareness, a student group that assists NGO’s battling poverty and hunger around the world. Recently, he administered the Waldwick High School CSA, a functioning agricultural cooperative on the school campus with student interns running the program.

Ted was chosen as the district Teacher of the Year in 2004 and 2013. He has also received several awards and grants, including the NJ School Garden of the Year in 2015, and the NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation for Educational Excellence in 2005 and 2009.

Outside of school, Ted created and currently manages a food ministry that provides fresh, healthy produce to hungry families facing food insecurity. He also designed and currently administers a summer educational enrichment technology-based program for underserved youth and assists in the planning of a local Jobs for Life program.

"By nature, economics is an academic subject that is dynamic, vibrant, and alive. As an economics teacher, it is my highest privilege to design learning activities that allow students space to weave the concepts we explore in the classroom directly into the fabric of their lives. Each day, I strive to create a classroom environment that fosters strong connections between seemingly abstract concepts and real life for my students. Through their deep engagement with economics, students are empowered to understand the world around them and to work towards improving it."