Rachel Rippl Appointed Permanent Middle School Director

by Susan Rice, Head of School

I am so excited to announce Rachel Rippl as our permanent Middle School Director, effective immediately.

While Rachel has been with Charles Wright Academy for many years as a teacher, coach, advisor, and leader – the work that she has done last summer and this fall to lead and shape our Middle School program has been impressive and inspiring. I am honored to have her as part of the Senior Leadership Team at Charles Wright and to have her vision and steady hand at the helm of our Middle School program.

Born and raised in Seattle, Rachel graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She moved to the East Coast to become a Teach for America Corps Member in Paterson, New Jersey. Having planned on teaching elementary school, her first teaching assignment was in seventh grade, and she was hooked! She enjoyed the middle school students’ energy, candor, and curiosity so much that she has stayed with this age group for the last 20 years. After a stint in New Jersey, Rachel moved back to Washington state where she taught at Eastside Academy and Odle Middle School in Bellevue before moving to Tacoma when she was hired at Charles Wright in 2006. Shortly thereafter, Rachel completed her Master’s of Education in Teaching from Antioch University Seattle. 

Now in the middle of her 16th year at Charles Wright Academy and serving as the Interim Director, Rachel brings with her 13 years of teaching sixth grade English and reading before transitioning into other administrative roles. Additionally, she has worn many hats during her tenure at CWA, including MS track and cross country coach, sixth grade running club, beach hike chaperone, service learning coordinator, and even birthday treat baker!  Her leadership roles at CWA have included sixth grade team leader, English Department co-chair, Assistant Middle School Director, and Middle School Co-Director. 

Rachel is grateful for the ability to share the Charles Wright community with her children Drew, 3rd grade, and Cole, 6th grade. Her husband, DJ, is a Gig Harbor Firefighter who occasionally moonlights as a MS substitute to help out his wife. As a former junior high youth pastor, he has a decade of experience with this age group and shares Rachel’s appreciation for middle grades’ energy and capacity. As a family, the Rippls love their home in the Northwest and can often be found in their limited spare time enjoying the San Juan Islands or Cannon Beach, running through the sand with their energetic dog, Bodie. 

Rachel’s vision for our Middle School is inspiring and aligns with our Strategic Vision 2030. She is a mission-driven leader who sees clarity in our future, and strives for the optimal student experience. Her priorities for implementing that vision include: 

  • Continuing to build a dynamic and engaging program that is tailored to the needs of adolescents. 
  • For students to develop a deeper sense of themselves by learning new skills, forming authentic relationships, and discovering their passions. 
  • Strengthening the partnership between school and home to provide holistic support for students to scaffold growth and gain independence. 

Rachel is a student-centered, creative, and dynamic leader. I have personally felt so fortunate to have her collaborative leadership style and a true sense of partnership in our work together. She is highly respected by her students, families, faculty, and colleagues. She is a reflective, engaged and hands-on leader who sees opportunities to continually improve experiences for everyone in our community. 

Please join me in welcoming Rachel to her appointment as our new Middle School Director at Charles Wright Academy. Congratulations, Rachel!

Rachel Rippl around campfire with students
Rachel Rippl at Middle School Camp
Rachel Rippl at American Lake plunge
Rachel Ripple with Middle School students at ropes course