Brett Loftis, Mecklenburg County’s best known children’s advocate, announced Friday he is leaving his job as head of the Council for Children’s Rights to become CEO of The Crossnore School in Avery County.
The council will launch a national search in January to replace Loftis, who’ll make his departure after the nonprofit’s Jan. 31 fundraiser at the Charlotte Convention Center.
The Crossnore School is residential facility for children from families in crisis. It operates the Crossnore Academy, a K-12 charter school in the center of Crossnore’s hillside campus. Children served at the school generally come from mountain and piedmont sections of the state, often with special needs traditional public schools find difficult or impossible to meet.
Loftis said Friday that he was approached about working at the school a few months ago, and was interested because of its innovative approach and focus on needs in rural areas.
“I grew up in rural South Carolina and the kinds of services, advocacy and support we have here in (Charlotte) does not exist for kids in rural parts of the state,” Loftis said. “Poverty in a rural community can literally take your life. They don’t have the soup kitchens and the homeless shelters. Crossnore has a holistic approach that gives kids a place to go to school in the same place they live.”
Loftis has earned a reputation as an outspoken advocate for children rights, focusing on such issues as special education, abuse and neglect, mental health, health care and civil legal representation. He joined the Council for Children’s Rights in 2000 and became leader of the organization in 2005. In 2009, he helped launch The Larry King Center for Building Children’s Futures, an initiative of the Council for Children’s Rights focused on system wide change for children in Mecklenburg County and North Carolina.
He has also been a well known leader in the region’s nonprofit community, most recently representing local charities on United Way’s Board of Directors.