Rachel (Waggener) Pool (’07)
Associate Professor of EducationDecember 14, 2021 - Jon Merryman
When Dr. Rachel Pool stepped onto Ouachita’s campus for Super Summer in high school, she fell in love. Not with a boy from another Arkansas town – she was in love with Ouachita.
“I was looking for a small, Christ-centered university where I could make quality Christian friendships, and I found that at Ouachita,” Pool said.
After graduation, Pool moved back to her hometown of West Memphis to teach high school algebra and later taught at McNair Middle School in Fayetteville, Ark., and Benton Junior High School in Benton, Ark. Since graduating from Ouachita, she earned her National Board Certification, a Master of Science in Education degree in educational theory and practice, an Educational Specialist degree in educational leadership and a Doctor of Education degree in higher education/faculty leadership. In 2011, she was hired to return to Ouachita to teach future educators and was voted Ouachita’s Most Inspirational Professor in 2018.
“I love to watch Rachel Pool teach. She has an electric presence that infuses the entire room and everyone in it with energy,” said Dr. Jeff Root, dean of the Huckabee School of Education. “She encourages vocal participation, but you also see the definition of active listening.
“She engages her students from the moment class starts until the end,” Root continued. “None of the energy is wasted. Every movement and voice inflection has a purpose. Dr. Pool has mastered the science of preparation and the art of presentation.”
Pool began building her approach for teaching while an honors student at Ouachita, researching Jesus as the Master Teacher for her senior honors thesis.
“My passion has been to study the life of Jesus as the Master Teacher and to analyze his teaching methods and strategies,” Pool said. “I even had the opportunity to go to Israel to walk where Jesus walked and see His ‘classroom.’ I am so blessed to serve at Ouachita, helping future teachers along their journey.”
She found that Jesus is referred to as “teacher” 45 times in the Bible, and she described 19 characteristics He exemplified as a master teacher. She wrote, “Jesus explained lessons clearly by providing the ‘whys’ behind each statement. His audience was able to grasp the cause-and-effect relationships His message described, giving it meaning, significance and comprehension.”
Pool said her work at Ouachita and the work she prepares students for is a calling and a ministry.
“Jesus stated in John 17:4: ‘I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do,’” she said. “My amazing professors at Ouachita helped me realize that with each day and with each school year, I should be using my calling to reach and minister to the students God has placed in my life. That is true of my work here at Ouachita, too, as I prepare students to step into classrooms of their own.”
Dr. Pool lives in Benton, Ark., with her husband, Jim, and their son, Caleb.
By Jon Merryman, director of alumni relations
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