February Staff Spotlight: Heidi Oberdank


Joshua Dineros

Pictured above, Heidi Oberdank.

Joshua Dineros

The Roosevelt Review recognizes Heidi Oberdank, an Advance Placement Language & Composition and ERWC teacher here at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, as February’s Staff Spotlight for her achievement and influence that she has made in our ERHS community.

R. Hernandez
Pictured above, Oberdank and fellow ERHS staff.

Oberdank’s Life Before ERHS.

Before coming to Roosevelt to teach, Oberdank attended the University of La Verne where she received a BA in English a Masters’s in Education. At 21 years old, she graduated with a BA in May of 2006; at this time, in September 2006, she also got offered her first teaching job at the newly built school, Eleanor Roosevelt High.

She was hired as an emergency credential/intern, while attending college to receive her Credential and Masters. Never having taught before, Oberdank started with five freshman English classes, teaching 20:1 student ratio.

Pictured above, the Oberdank family.

Oberdank’s Life Outside of ERHS.

Oberdank is a mother of a 7-year-old daughter who she loves to spend time with. They, “…both love super hero movies, so we see those together, and we both LOVE Harry Potter, so we spend time reading every night (we’re currently in the middle of book 6)-she has both a wand (Hermione’s of course) and an official Hogwarts robe from Universal.”

Personally, Oberdank, loves to read! She, “…reads all the books I can-usually when I teach, I tend to read mysteries and easier reads just because I don’t have to focus too hard-I read to unwind when I teach.  When I have breaks in grading or breaks in the school year, I’ll focus on the heavier books I have on my list.”

Oberdank and the ERHS Community

Oberdank is the co-coordinator of the Link Crew program and a softball coach for the last 12 years, with her newest advisory role for the ERHS Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).

K. Hernandez
Pictured above, Oberdank and her fellow teachers.

Beginning with Link Crew, Oberdank enjoys, “All of these clubs/programs have helped in me in different ways.  With Link Crew, it was my first foray into a leadership club, and these kids showed me that teenagers are MUCH MORE capable than anyone gives them credit for.  This definitely changed my view of students in the classroom; I set my expectations a bit higher and counted on them to be a bit more self-sufficient.”

Continuing on, as a softball coach here at ERHS, Oberdank has gotten, “…to have a closer relationship with my kids as they usually stay all 4 years-I get to see them grow and mature.  Again, these girls show me how hard working kids can be if they’re motivated.  It’s also allowed me to form closer relationships as I see these girls more than my own daughter some days.  I’ve been able to get close to some players families and it’s taught me that I can rely on others for help when I need it.  The idea of community is definitely strong in the softball world.”

Lastly, on a new venture, Oberdank advises for the GSA club here on campus. This venture aided in changing her perspective, opening her eyes to some of the discrimination that LGBT youth at Roosevelt face. She says that since Eastvale is, “…one of the most diverse places in the country, and because the people that I surround myself with encourage and love others for who they are, [I thought] that these discriminatory ideas were minimal.  I was absolutely wrong.  So many of the students in this club have experienced some form of discrimination simply because they are who they are…the students [however] give me hope, they are some of the most supportive and kind kids to each other, all members of this club make sure that all feel welcome, loved, and valued.”

Joshua Dineros
Pictured above, Oberdank’s classroom poster.

Oberdank’s Vision for ERHS

Finishing out the last semester of her seniors’ year, she enjoys, “…teaching Brave New World with my seniors.  It’s absolutely one of my favorite novels, so much so that I have a tattoo from the novel on the inside of my wrist; it reads, “I claim them all.”  With the current political/social climate, the book resonates in ways that it never has before, so I enjoy seeing kids make relevant connections and enjoy reading.”

Congratulations Mrs. Heidi Oberdank on receiving the honor of February Staff Spotlight. Thank you for all the work you do for our community and look out for our next student spotlight. Happy reading Mustangs!