From Egyptian drill sergeants to math drills: The story of Mr. Ahmed Badr


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mr.Badr

Surrounded by the dessert landscape, Mr. Badr poses for a picture in 1999

by Sophie Ferreri, Staff Writer

Behind the mustache and the calculator, Mr. Ahmed Badr possesses an incommensurable personal history that tells how he became a Glen Rock High School math teacher.

Badr was born and raised in Egypt, where he nurtured a love of mathematics and prioritized education. In Egypt, it is mandatory that every man must serve the military, but with varying terms. If one does not obtain any education, he is required to complete three years of service. A high school graduate serves for two years, and, for a college graduate, only one year.

After graduating from college and receiving his bachelor’s degree, Badr served his year.

“It’s a different experience than here in the United States. Over there, it’s a real challenge because they don’t provide us with anything, only some food and one uniform. You have to survive in and build your own house with no material,” Badr said. “Everything you have to do, you do it on your own.”

Mr. Badr also acquired a passion for fencing and joined the Egyptian military’s fencing team. The last championship he participated in, he won first place.

Though he cannot fence anymore due to lingering injuries, he hoped to pass on the love of the sport to son, Adam, who attends Glen Rock Middle School.

“If I could describe my dad in three words, I would say that he is smart, strong and brave,” Adam said.

Although Adam hasn’t yet picked up his father’s love of fencing, he said that Egyptian culture is in many aspects of their household. He also enjoys taking trips to Egypt to see and experience the environment his dad grew up in.

“I look up to my dad because it must’ve been really challenging to be part of the military, but it definitely made him tougher,” Adam said.

After completing his service and arriving in America, Badr attended New Jersey City University to finish earning his master’s degree to become a teacher. To pay for college tuition and expenses, he spent his mornings as a taxi driver. He also worked as a pizza delivery man.

“My mother convinced me to be teacher because I was always good at math, and my wife was also getting her master’s to become a teacher as well, so we did it together,” Badr said.

Badr has taught at five different colleges as an adjunct professor, including Felician College, New Jersey City University, Passaic County Community College, Hudson County Community College, and Essex County Community College. While being offered a job at Sussex Community College, Mr. Badr chose to come teach at Glen Rock High School and has been here for 16 years.

“I love this school. I love the environment, and the students are very, very, very sensitive, and I like that as well,” Badr said.

Mr. Badr teaches Algebra II and Pre-Calculus. With his love for numbers, he has always been involved in the math department alongside side fellow co-worker, Ms. Leah Wittenberg.

“He’s very good at engaging his students in his lessons,” Wittenberg said.

She expressed how Badr’s up-beat personality is almost contagious, and he is very good at making anyone smile.

“If I could describe Mr. Badr in three words, I would say intelligent, funny and mustache,” she said.