Waterloo Faculty

Craig Doerksen

Director, Founder

Craig is the founder of Waterloo School, leading the team of three co-founders in researching and developing the unique model. Craig led the School of Rhetoric at Regents School of Austin for eleven years, where he guided its growth from a division of one hundred-plus students and a small faculty to over three hundred students and close to forty full and part-time faculty and staff. He co-founded the Bluetower Arts Foundation in Eugene, OR, taught and served as Upper School Head of Trinity School in Raleigh, NC, established the food service at Young Life’s Washington Family Ranch, built a Young Life ministry in partnership with Bethesda Lutheran Church, in Eugene, Oregon, taught public school English in Los Angeles, and ran the kitchen at Young Life’s Malibu Club in British Columbia. 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. Craig serves on the Board of Directors for BlueTower and Gutenberg College. Craig and his wife Dana are members of Christ Church of Austin and are actively involved in the ACNA Matthew 25 initiative and pre-marital counseling. Hobbies include woodworking, writing, backpacking, and travel.

Education

Experience

Posts by Craig Doerksen

Learning how to fail

By Craig Doerksen / October 25, 2021

I was in Atlanta recently at an education conference and a colleague who I’d not seen since we had started Waterloo wanted an update on how we were doing. Being an educator he asked an important question, “How do you know what you are doing is working?” So I shared with him one of the…

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Do we need managers or leaders?

By Craig Doerksen / September 21, 2021

The pandemic has disrupted a lot, right? A lot in the workplace, and a lot in schools. And, when things get stirred up, we notice status quo features of life, school, or work we had not seen before. They were always there, but once we see them in the light, we realize—that’s not a feature, that’s a…

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Why we are starting online when we could be in person

By Craig Doerksen / August 10, 2020

And why we are planning in-person experiences even while classes will be online. Note: Waterloo School will begin classes online on August 17th. A Community Learning Time during the hour from 9-10 a.m. will allow students to meet in-person or via Zoom with a teacher and a different group of students each day for a…

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How to be RARE in the time of Coronavirus

By Craig Doerksen / August 7, 2020

I have always appreciated the cool head and heart in a hot room. You know the person: something happens that others react emotionally to in fear and alarm, and the cool, calm, collected person brings confidence, peace, and hope to those around him or her. I appreciate the coolness, because that kind of calm creates…

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Pandemic? Grades? College? Help!

By Craig Doerksen / July 29, 2020

If we’re honest, the college application process over the last ten years has seemed to get worse for students without improving the outcomes. Higher stakes for tests, grades, and resumes to feed a more competitive application process (partially because students apply to twice as many colleges as they once did). Add to that a pandemic,…

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“Learning-in-place”

By Craig Doerksen / April 10, 2020

Learning at Waterloo in the time of COVID-19

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I used to think…

By Craig Doerksen / August 8, 2019

“I used to think…” “I used to think…” It is such a great way to be able to start a sentence, isn’t it? To start a sentence that way requires change and growth. It implies learning new things and letting go of perspectives. I used to think it meant admitting I was wrong, which, in…

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21st c. Education

By Craig Doerksen / June 6, 2019

Making School for Kids, not Kids in Schools ’21st Century Skills’ is a buzz word in education right now. In fact, it has been for…a few decades. Yes, we are twenty years into the century, but it is a buzz, because educators feel painfully that the 20th century way we do education is disconnected from…

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Two Views of a School Building

By Craig Doerksen / March 27, 2019

Building a new school has two distinct elements.  The first: defining the academic program, creating the policies, procedures, and administrative backbone to lead an effective, efficient school.  Here Waterloo leans heavily on educational and institutional ‘best practices’—from governance policies, financial practices, and research-based pedagogies and programs.  It is why we are using CESA standards and NBOA to ground our…

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The City is the School—announcing Waterloo’s location.

By Craig Doerksen / January 29, 2019

Title: The City is the School—and Waterloo has a home in it! Waterloo School has a home! We have used “The city is the school” as a shorthand slogan for the kind of school we are building, one where teenagers discover how they can learn from and contribute to where they live. But this leads…

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