A Fond Farewell to Rachel Kubitz

June 6, 2024 | Craig Doerksen


On the last day of school, Rachel Kubitz told the students that she will be not be returning Waterloo as a teacher next fall. It was a sad moment for all of us students and staff who love her and have benefited—blessed—by her presence, her work, her personality, her teaching.

I and the other founders are so thankful for the four years that Rachel Kubitz has served at Waterloo. Her energy, openness, and joy for learning and growth have made a mark in shaping Waterloo from an idea of what school could be to an example of good schooling.

And, while I am sad she is leaving, I am also, in a manner, happy as well. Let me explain! Schools talk about being ‘sending’ institutions, sending graduates out to pursue the life and path they have prepared for. The same can be the case for teachers, particularly young teachers.

Over her four years at Waterloo, Rachel has undergone the same process we seek our students to do—growing skills, interests, knowledge, and capacity—and also knowledge and understanding of where all of that meets a need and opportunity in the world. I will let her explain in her own words what she is doing, but what I hope our students will notice and be inspired by is that she is courageously pursuing a vision that is both good for her (doing what she loves) and good for others and the world (literally, the earth!). Students often see adulthood as more obligation and drudgery than a purpose-filled, joyful, adventure. Their Mrs. Kubitz is showing them another way, and that makes me happy…

Four years ago I started teaching at Waterloo. I had just graduated from UT, where I studied archaeology with a research focus on the history of agriculture, food systems, and human interaction with the environment. I had planned for most of college to go to grad school and make that my life’s work. It was midway through my senior year when I realized I wanted to do something more relevant and meaningful to the present. So I came to teach at Waterloo with a lot of ideas and interests, and absolutely no clue how I would use them in my life.

Over these last four years I’ve been blessed with a wonderful community of coworkers, students, and families. As I learned how to teach well at a project-based school, it also changed the way I thought about the world. In the background, I’ve been using a lot of the same design principles we teach to figure out how to apply my archaeological research to modern problems. Our agricultural and food systems are in a sorry state, and over the last four years I’ve had the chance to talk, volunteer, and work with dozens of amazing individuals and organizations who are helping improve it (if you’re curious, this essay gets at the philosophical crux of the problem). My husband has been on a very different career journey with a similar end goal. In a few years, we hope to own and operate an ecologically responsible and community-oriented farm and ranch.

That’s a pretty complicated and risky goal. This year, it became clear to me through prayer and conversation that it’s time to devote my full energy to it. Although I’ve done a lot of volunteering and reading in the sustainable agriculture space, I knew I needed to start working regularly with some long-term mentors and learn the annual ins-and-outs of regenerative farming. I’ve been blessed to find some amazing new mentors at Green Fields Farm, where I’ll start working in June.

Although it’s sad to be leaving my full-time position at Waterloo, I will still be coaching the Mock Trial team! That means I’ll be around twice a week for much of the school year. Even outside of that role, I want to be available to any of our students who could use my input on an internship, junior project, or just life.

Rachel Kubitz

Thank you Rachel, for your years of service, your friendship, your commitment, and your courage to go do something, good, hard, and totally you.

For the Waterloo Team,
Craig Doerksen

Craig Doerksen

Craig Doerksen

Prior to becoming the director of Waterloo School, Craig provided leadership for a number of prominent institutions, including Regents School of Austin; the Bluetower Arts Foundation in Eugene, OR; and Trinity School in Raleigh, NC. Craig holds a master’s degree in English from the University of Ireland and graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in English.