Rachel Loshak grew up on an apple farm in Suffolk, England. She comes from a family of hard-working fruit farmers, entrepreneurs, and musicians, and has had a successful career as a singer, songwriter and bassist, touring internationally performing her original music.
Over the years, she gravitated towards and has deeply enjoyed teaching singing groups and choirs, and working with music therapy, but now as a Class Teacher at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, Rachel says, “I feel like I’m pulling all of my experiences into something much broader, by teaching children out of love.”
Rachel received a Creative Arts degree in Contemporary Music from Nottingham University in England, and came to New York City in the 1990s. Before dedicating herself full time to teaching, she worked as a creative arts/music therapist, photographer and art photo editor, administrator, and performing arts manager, including many years as business and booking manager to her husband, Morgan Taylor.
During her time in the city she became revered for her unique bass-and-voice style and poetic, melodic songwriting. As well as performing her own music and touring extensively through England, Ireland, Germany, Denmark and even Seoul, Korea, Rachel became a sought-after vocalist, working with Norah Jones, Natalie Merchant, and Moby, as well as a number of national children’s acts such as Caspar Babypants, The Okee-Dokee Brothers, and her husband’s music/animation project, Gustafer Yellowgold.
Rachel’s journey towards becoming a Waldorf teacher began when her family moved to the Hudson Valley and enrolled their 18 month old son at Mountaintop Waldorf School in Woodstock, NY.
“The public education system here is different than in England,” Rachel says. “I’d lived in this country for 15 years without really understanding it, or needing to, but when we had a child, and he needed to go to school, we were overwhelmed. We were introduced to Mountaintop School by a friend, and began to learn about Waldorf education. I felt at home in my heart, and was sure that this was where not only Harvey, but our entire family belonged.”
Harvey continued through Mountaintop’s early childhood program, as did his younger sibling Ridley, before the family moved from Woodstock to Kingston, and both children came to Mountain Laurel Waldorf School in New Paltz, NY, for grade school. During those years, with encouragement and support from the teacher at Mountaintop School, Rachel began to explore the idea of becoming a Waldorf teacher, to take a new, grounded, and inspired path.
Rachel knew her desire to commit herself to the Waldorf teacher training would mean a change in lifestyle for her whole family, but from her first visit to the teacher education classes at the Alkion Center at Hawthorne Valley, she was open and committed. She completed the three-year course, and after receiving her Waldorf Teaching Certificate, she began as the 1st Grade class teacher at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School, where she led the class to 3rd Grade.
A variety of life-changes occurred that led to Rachel’s interest in a new position, and a new home. When she saw there was an opening for a 1st grade class teacher at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, it felt like destiny calling, on a professional level for her as a teacher, and personally for her family.
Rachel was already familiar with Hawthorne Valley from her teacher training and felt connected to the place, with the farm setting reminding her of her roots in England. She accepted the role of 1st Grade Class Teacher, and her family moved to Columbia County to join the school.
“My children feel the strength in the school, they trust their teachers, and they feel they have solid ground under them through to high school,” she says. “There is a healthy environment of support and enrichment for the teachers here that provides deep-rooted benefits, most of all for the children we teach.”
When Rachel first began her training, one friend had commented with the concern that she was giving up her artistry to become a teacher, but she feels the opposite.
“The way Waldorf Education teaches requires a deepening of one’s inner self, and of one’s artistic self,” she says. “I love using my skills to help others. I have a lot to share, and take great joy in directing my will to serve others through my teaching. It is really a gift to have the trust of the students, the parents, and the school to serve in this role.”
To learn more about Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School and schedule a tour, contact John Darby, Admissions Director, at 518-672-7092 x111.