In late 2015, a few months into what he describes as his “so-called retirement,” Ted Wachtel had completed most of his responsibilities in the transition to his successor, John Bailie, the second president at the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), an accredited master’s degree-granting school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., where Ted was founder and first president.

He says “so-called” retirement, because, “I’m only 70 and I’m not dead yet. My dad died in 2014, a couple of months short of his 100th birthday, and my mom was 91 when she passed. In light of my parents’ longevity, I hope I’ll have time for at least a couple more projects.”

Below is the beginning of a long list of such projects, which have defined Ted’s life to date:

Experiments, Prototypes, Working Models
and Demonstration Programs

Young Ted Wachtel
Ted Wachtel in his teaching days

Since his graduation from Miami University (Ohio) in December 1967, Ted and various colleagues—often working with his wife, Susan—have organized projects to try out their ideas in the real world, through experiments, prototypes, working models and demonstration programs.

Young Susan Wachtel
Susan Wachtel as Community Service Foundation Program Director

Of course, some of the projects did not work out the way Ted had hoped. But as a pragmatist, he knows that he can learn as much from his failures as his successes. “For each project,” he says, “you ask the questions: What works? What doesn’t? How? And why? After which, you can apply the new knowledge and understanding to your next efforts.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The most powerful and useful approach to learning is direct experience. It requires a willingness to fail and look foolish. But if you have thoughtfully considered your project and see enough value in it, you take a chance and leap into the fray of life.”

Local voter registration and political campaigns (1970 – ongoing)

Ted monitoring poll results
Ted Wachtel monitoring poll results

Susan Wachtel distributing voter guides
Susan Wachtel helping distribute a voters’ guide

School district-wide multimedia center for AV, TV and libraries (1970-1980s)

Ted in the school multi-media center with William Keim
Ted Wachtel with superintendent William Keim

District-wide media center
District-wide Media Center

Educational multi-media “Sensory Experience Room” and related slide shows (1970s)

sensory experience room setup
Sensory Experience Room Setup

sensory experience room
Sensory Experience Room

Individualized audiovisual secondary school “American Culture” course (mid-1970s)

Pioneering Ted’s small group model
Pioneering Ted’s individual group discussion model

American culture course
American Culture course student handbook

Educational sound filmstrip rental company (1973-1974)

Threshold Multimedia Libraries Logo
Threshold, Ted’s multimedia company

High school student-run local access cable television station (mid 1970s-1980s)

Local access TV
Student-run local access cable TV station
Student-run local access TV
Student-run local access cable TV