After 24 years at Deerfield, Health Issues Teacher Kristen Loftus will depart to pursue a career in nursing.
In 1994, Ms. Loftus came to Deerfield as an athletic trainer, and after completing her master’s in education, she began teaching. At Deerfield, she has taught both Anatomy and Health Education. Since her return from a sabbatical that she took in 2015 to earn a degree in nursing, Ms. Loftus has been simultaneously working as a part-time nurse, coach, teacher, advisor, and head of the Peer Counseling program.
In addition, Ms. Loftus, along with Susan Carlson, a retired member of Deerfield Academy’s health program, organized the first Deerfield trip to the Independent School Gender Project’s annual conference. This initiative focused on encouraging Deerfield students to think about and discuss solutions for gender issues in their lives.
In 2011, Ms. Loftus also collaborated with Ms. Carlson and Counselor Susan Watson to conduct a survey gauging students’ opinions on gender-related issues on campus in terms of equity and mentorship.
Based on the data she collected, Ms. Loftus led the efforts to create a position for both a female and male head cheerleader. She also worked to ensure that each class has male and female student council representatives.
Additionally, after school meeting was moved from a Tuesday to a Wednesday, Ms. Loftus noticed, “There were kids who would go first [period], second [period], school meeting, and third period and wouldn’t have had anything to eat until [lunch].” Following up on this observation, she prompted the provision of snacks for students after school meeting.
Ms. Loftus has also led an initiative to promote healthier nutrition on campus, mainly through Dining Hall “healthy plate” nutrition cards. She divided the Dining Hall into the sections of a healthy plate and assigned each table a food within that category with information on its benefits, and how to incorporate it into healthy eating habits.
Ms. Loftus has been the advisor to the Peer Counseling program throughout her time here.
Describing her close connection to the group, Ms. Loftus stated, “[The Peer Counseling program is] the thing that I will absolutely miss the most … because that group becomes so comfortable. It’s very much like a family.”
The Peer Counselors themselves also attested to the impact that Ms. Loftus had had on them personally.
Micajah Stude ’19, who got to know Ms. Loftus as both an advisor and the head of Peer Counseling program, said, “She has been like a second mother.”
Likewise, Nate Baker ‘19 described the impact she has had on his Deerfield experience: “Her energy and love have really rubbed off on me and shown me the kind of person that I wvant to be not only for the rest of my time here at Deerfield but also for the rest of my life.”
Mikey Holland ’19 also praised Ms. Loftus’ instrumental role in cultivating the close-knit atmosphere of the Peer Counseling group, saying, “I’ve never seen a leader of a club or group at Deerfield bring a group of kids in and produce a family year after year.”
Reflecting on her experiences at Deerfield, Ms. Loftus described her most memorable moments as tied to her impact on students. She explained that moments like receiving thank-you notes at the end of the year or finding out that she had inspired a student to attend medical school had made her Deerfield experience particularly rewarding.
While she has chosen to pursue a new chapter in her career, Ms. Loftus still plans to frequently return to campus.
She stated, “I still plan on going to the Fitness Center, and I’m going to the games!”