Steve Taft has lived on a boarding school campus for almost his entire life. Growing up at Phillips Exeter Academy, he decided to trade in his red for some much-needed green in 1984. Mr. Taft is a prized member of the language department and has taught a myriad of different Spanish classes. He currently teaches 3 sections of Spanish V. Beyond the classroom, he has watched Deerfield’s campus and community grow and change, as he was present for its transition to co-education. In fact, he was the first hall resident on Rosenwald 1, the first dorm to house female students on campus.
Mr. Taft has been a fixture on the Deerfield campus, and he has been a part of dorm life throughout his career. He has lived in Plunkett, a dorm that stood directly in front of the dining hall, and Doubleday. He has been an associate in Chapin, Scaife, and Doubleday 1 and 3. Earlier in his Deerfield career, he lived with his wife and two sons in the dorms. His wife, Virginia Invernizzi, also taught Spanish at Deerfield for approximately 20 years. Mr. Taft’s sons, Dylan and Eliot, graduated from Deerfield in 2008 and 2011, respectively. His wife currently teaches at St Paul’s School, and they live in southern Vermont, where he plans to spend his retirement. Mr. Taft looks forward to cutting firewood and working around his country house. When he’s not at his house, he plans to spend time with his wife at Saint Paul’s. He also hopes to have the opportunity to travel as he says “there are lots of places I still want to learn about!”
Throughout the years, Mr. Taft has displayed his love of soccer through coaching numerous teams. He used to coach boys’ 5th soccer and etched himself a respectable record as the coach of girls’ JV soccer. More recently, Mr. Taft has helped coach boys’ varsity soccer alongside Tom Heise and Jan Flaska. Cheri Karbon, one of his colleagues, comments that “he can hang with the Language Ladies or play soccer for the Drafters, and he’s highly regarded and loved by all.”
Although light-hearted with a witty sense of humor, Mr. Taft conducts his classroom with candor and composure. In Spanish V, he shared his vast knowledge of Spanish culture and history. He has spent many years abroad in Spain; for several of these years, he taught English for the School Year Abroad program. Through a combination of Spanish literature, art, history, and anecdotes, student Simeon Bethel ‘20 says, “Profe Taft is able to present the Spanish language in a way that keeps students engaged.” Mr. Taft was so strongly influenced by his time in Spain that he and his wife advocated for a yearly Spanish cultural and linguistic immersion trip which is now managed by the CSGC. He has watched the language department increase its influence amongst the student body at Deerfield. John Taylor, the current Dean of Faculty and a fellow Spanish teacher explained, “I quickly realized that Mr. Taft was the heart and soul of the language department.”
There is no doubt in his colleagues’ or students’ minds that Mr. Taft will be greatly missed by all members of the Deerfield community. Taylor acknowledges, “He will leave a huge void when he leaves Deerfield. I will miss him dearly.” Though he is sad to leave the place he has called home for the last 36 years, he is proud to say that “Deerfield has been a great place to raise my family; it took a village.” Mr. Taft has nothing but respect for the community, especially his colleagues. He reflects, “They were good contestants when we disagreed, and great supporters when we did agree.” He has watched Deerfield transition to a co-ed and diverse community and is proud to say that Deerfield has changed for the better. It is with heartache that the Deerfield community says goodbye to Mr. Taft, but his impact will live on in the hearts of those who were blessed enough to cross paths with him.