Ted Heller

Ted Heller


Ted Heller, former North Penn High School Director of Bands, is a North Penn Knight through and through. A graduate of the Class of 1982, Heller spent his school years taking every musical opportunity available to him and returned to North Penn after graduating college to teach the next generations of students to share in his love of music. 

Heller began his musical career in the North Penn School District, participating in every music ensemble, class, and opportunity he could. Following his graduation from North Penn High School, Heller went on to attend Temple University, where he initially studied Computer Science. Realizing his true passion, Heller switched his major to Music Education and graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in 1988. Even while he was at Temple, Heller worked for the North Penn Marching Knights in his spare time. 

In 1988, Steven Frederick, Knights of Honor Class of 2016 and former North Penn High School Band Director, took a sabbatical and was in need of a replacement. Ted Heller stepped up and rejoined the North Penn School District as a long-term substitute. He then spent the rest of his career in the district, first at Pennfield Middle School, then North Penn High School, then Penndale Middle School, and finishing at North Penn High School before his retirement in 2019. 

North Penn was already well-established as a powerhouse of music education, but under Heller the program flourished into all aspects of music. He directed the Navy Jazz Band for five years, and then established another jazz ensemble, the Columbia Jazz Band, which functions as a “lab band”. Heller also began the music careers class at North Penn as a way to teach more students what music after high school could look like. 

As director of the North Penn Marching Knights, Ted Heller led the ensemble to win what felt like every competition they entered, including a run of nine consecutive National titles in the USBands circuit. One of his fondest memories is the 2002 Bands of America Regional Championships, where North Penn was the highest scoring band against 16 bands from six different states. The ensemble also participated in some unforgettable experiences, performing in the inaugural parade for former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell in 2003, performing on the steps and stage of the Academy of Music for the 100th anniversary of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2000, and band trips across the country. 

Heller’s contribution to the North Penn community was not solely in music. He worked as an assistant coach for the North Penn golf team, host for North Penn Television, and producer for Penndale Television. Heller was a presence in all aspects of North Penn, helping to shape students into not only good musicians, but well-rounded individuals ready for life after high school. Heller upheld the tradition of excellence that has been in the North Penn music program since its inception. He created a band room that was “home” for any student who walked through the doors, learning lessons of music and life. 

Ted Heller has two children, Luke and Nate, who graduated from North Penn High School in 2011 and 2013. Ted and his wife, Dr. Lisa Heller, still reside in Montgomery County and can still be seen at North Penn music events from time to time, checking in on the program he was so influential in building.