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From Admiral to Patriot: Moving up the Ranks

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New Principal Loft is excited to be at Yorktown High School

New Principal Loft is excited to be at Yorktown High School

Kate Cressey

Kate Cressey

New Principal Loft is excited to be at Yorktown High School

Jessie Moyer and Rosie Eldridge, Sentry Staff Reporter

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A new school year means a fresh start for students and teachers alike, and for the current principal of Swanson Middle School, Bridget Loft, this upcoming school year means a fresh start as well. Loft was recently chosen to take over for retiring principal Dr. Raymond Pasi. Though Loft’s career aspiration in elementary school was President of the United States, she eventually decided to major in education and become a teacher. This led Loft on a long journey in Arlington public schools; she began as a social studies teacher at Wakefield High School for 12 years, then became an assistant principal at Swanson for four years, an assistant principal at Wakefield for one year and is now principal of Swanson Middle School. Loft’s decision to become an administrator developed from her desire to affect change on a larger scale.

“Some folks are really interested in going to central office and focusing on social studies, and we certainly need those folks, but I have always been interested in staying in the school because I think that it’s the best of both worlds; you can work with kids and adults to define a school,” Loft said.

Loft’s experiences in middle and high schools make her both sad to leave Swanson but also excited to be be immersed in the culture of high school.

“I really like high school kids. I feel like we can have a conversation; your executive functioning is more evolved, your brains are more evolved, we can move forward …. I am looking forward to reestablishing relationships with older kids. I’m looking forward to getting to know, what I hear, is a really stellar staff of folks … I’m also looking forward to learning about the variety of after school activities because there are so many more,” Loft said.

Loft’s philosophy is two-fold, including her leadership philosophy and her educational philosophy. From a leadership standpoint, Loft believes collaboration and transparency are essential to making an effective principal.

“I think that it’s really important to be collaborative. As a principal, yeah your name is on the top of the letterhead, but really what makes a school is the people who are in it, so [I like to be] collaborative with kids and collaborative with staff to identify areas of need and work together to address it. I think another thing is to be as transparent as possible. So, if there is change afoot, then I think that it is important that folks understand why that change is happening, what the research or rationale for that change. I think folks have a right to say their piece and they need to know what I’m thinking as well,” Loft said.  

From an educational point of view, Loft feels that her end goal as principal is focused around the students in the school.

“It is my responsibility, as it is for every adult in a school, to ensure that every kid has an opportunity. Sometimes kids don’t recognize what those opportunities are, so we have to work together to address that. A lot of folks say that all kids can learn, and I totally agree with that…. I think you have to be aware of what are those opportunities out there and how can we help you to be successful at them,” Loft said.

Loft has learned a lot during her years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal and expects her upcoming year at Yorktown to be just as informative.

“…I fully expect that next year will be a learning year. I think that it’s really important to not be arrogant, to not walk in and say, ‘I’ve got this’ because I sure don’t got this; but to hear from all of the constituencies about what’s important, what’s great about Yorktown, what needs to be addressed, and then working with kids (and I really mean that) and staff members,” Loft said.

Loft’s humble attitude towards her new job works well with her motivation to always improve what she is in charge of. She knows Yorktown, like all other schools, has its challenges and is excited to start seeing what needs to be done.

“I always say at Swanson, and my staff rolls their eyes when I say this, that ‘there are no problems, only opportunities.’ So the one thing I would like to do is really unpack what those opportunities are, to work towards making Yorktown a welcoming school for everybody and to not forget about what gives Yorktown that special spark,” Loft said.

Loft is ready to embrace the challenge of leading a school as large as Yorktown and knows that the most important part of her job is going to be communication. She would like everyone at Yorktown to know that, above all else, she values the diverse perspectives that she expects this new job to give her, for they will allow her to excel as principal.

“It takes the sum of the parts, that’s what Yorktown is, so I’d like folks to know that I’m interested in learning about them and the school and helping to move forward as Patriots,” Loft said.

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From Admiral to Patriot: Moving up the Ranks