Ms. Loomis Receives Prestigious Award


Credit: Williston

Katie Loomis has recently been recognized for her excellence in both teaching and coaching.

Loomis was the winner of the Granniss Chair Award. This award is awarded to a faculty member who helps students develop a love for learning. In the description of the award, it is said that this faculty member instills happiness in their students.

“The Granniss Faculty Chair was established in 1999 by Eugenie Granniss, widow of Charles Gardiner Granniss who was a member of the Williston class of 1929. It is awarded to a faculty member who personifies the pure joy of sharing the process of learning,” said in the description of the award on the Williston website on October 9.

Loomis has been teaching at Williston for five years in the language department and currently lives in Emily McFadon Vincent House. This year Loomis teaches seventh and eighth-grade middle school Spanish, as well as Honors Spanish Two in the upper school. She coaches Boys Cross Country as well as Boys and Girls Swimming.

Ms. Loomis grew up in South Windsor, Connecticut, but is not a stranger to the prep school scene; she attended Kingswood Oxford, in West Hartford, Connecticut. After high school, she attended Kenyon College in Ohio. Then right after undergrad, Loomis went to Middlebury College for graduate school and the University of Pennsylvania in education graduate school.

In EMV, Ms. Loomis is a dorm parent, and while staying up late is not her favorite, she loves the students she gets to work within the dorm. However, the best part is getting to see students face to face every day.

“It’s really nice to be back working with you guys. It just wasn’t the same this spring, so I’m really enjoying working with students in person, and having some face to face interaction,” she said.

While Loomis is unsure of the selection process for her award, she guesses that the response she had in her three-year review could have had some impact on the result. Loomis explains that she comes back every year because of the students she teaches, but also the devotion she has to the subject she teaches.

“During our three-year reviews, you talk a little bit about your view of teachers and why you sign up to come back every year. My why is because of the kids and because of my own passion for my subject and having the chance to pass that on to people,” she said.

When she first heard the news that she had won the award, Ms. Loomis was very shocked but was very honored to receive recognition for her work and is now able to use the professional development money to enhance her classroom.

“I was pretty surprised, I wasn’t expecting to see Mr. Valine the day he told me. I felt very appreciative and happy to have the chance to use the professional development money to bring something back to my classroom,” she said.

Loomis loves teaching at Williston because she is able to use all her strengths to benefit the community in many different ways. She can help students extend their language skills in the classroom, but she can also help students become the best athletes they can be.

“What I love about teaching at Williston is the chance to combine all the things I love into one job. I love Spanish, I love my subject, but I also love swimming and I love to run. It combines all my areas of expertise into one job,” she said.

In general, Loomis loves teaching because, with every new group of students, the experiences she has teaching them will be different even if she is teaching the same lesson. There is something new every time she teaches which is why she loves and continues to do her work.

“It’s different every day. When I walk into the room I have no idea what to expect. I love that you can teach the same lesson a million times but it will turn out different every time you walk into the room. It is the unexpected that keeps me coming back,” she said.

In her years of teaching, Loomis has learned the importance of a good work-life balance. Currently, she is working on managing her work life but also trying to teach students how to balance their work. She believes that now more than ever, having that balance is very important.

“One thing I have been working on lately is balance. If I not taking care of myself, then I can’t take care of my students. I’ve been working on having a better work-life balance and I think teaching students how to have that balance as well, especially in a pandemic, is an important life skill,” she said.

Jillian Dietz, a senior, loved having Ms. Loomis as a teacher during her freshman year. Jillian thought that Ms. Loomis was a very supportive teacher who worked hard to make sure her students understood the material.

“She was really sweet and offered extra help, or retakes if we needed it, she was very supportive,” she said.

Jillian felt that Loomis had a wide variety of activities to do in class to help learn difficult parts of the language. One of these activities included a ball and the class getting in a circle and working together to conjugate verbs.

“Everyone in the class would get into a circle and Ms. Loomis would have a verb or a tense of verbs for us to conjugate. We would toss the ball to each other, and say a word to conjugate in a certain form and the person with the ball had to conjugate the word,” she said.