Eric Duffy RN, Kerri Lilly RN BSN, and Andy Russ MD make up the leadership team at Lincoln Academy’s School Based health Center.

After six years as Director of the Lincoln Academy Health Center, Eric Duffy has decided to step back to a smaller role and hand over the leadership to someone else. Duffy will stay on as a part time school nurse, but Kerri Lilly has taken over the role of Health Center Director.

“This job has been an incredible opportunity,” said Duffy. “It brought together all the parts of my background, and my goals. I got to hang out with teens, be a frontline healthcare provider, and an educator, all at the same time. To do that in a community where I’ve lived for 20 years, and am raising my own daughters now, has been a blessing. But there is a season for everything.”

As part of the transition, Duffy and Lilly have been working side by side full-time since September. They see students for in-school issues from sore throats to sprained ankles, but also for anything in between, including mental health, sexual health, and preventative medicine. “We try to be a walk-in clinic for teens, but at school,” said Duffy. “We have the best jobs at LA! No homework, no grading, no discipline. But, in the ways we can, we try to help our students fill in some of the blanks with the other stuff they deal with in high school.”

A keystone of the relationship between LA and Lincoln Health is having a Nurse Practitioner on site for two full school days each week. This allows students to interact not only with the nursing staff, but also with a primary care provider in a convenient and confidential way. Lincoln Health also provides a social worker on site two days each week, adding to the services provided by Lincoln Academy’s two full-time social workers. LA’s Medical Director is Dr. Andy Russ, a pediatrician at Lincoln Health.

“Practicing medicine in a small town is something all of the members of LA’s Health Center team appreciate,” said Duffy, citing the fact that Lilly, Russ, and LA social workers Lisa Katz and Rachel Bennett are all LA parents, and Health Center administrator Robyn Henny and nurse practitioner Jan Yost are both LA alumni and parents. “We are lucky enough to look forward to the years ahead, built on the years behind.”

New Health Center Director Kerri Lilly, RN BSN

New Health Center Director Kerri Lilly, RN BSN

Lilly grew up in Massachusetts and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Science in Nursing from Northeastern University. She moved to Maine in 2003 and has worked as a nurse at Lincoln Health since then, serving in various roles including the Medical/Surgical unit, Intensive Care Unit, and Inpatient Clinical Nurse Supervisor. She served a three year stint as school nurse at Great Salt Bay School from 2017-2020, a position that is also under the umbrella of Lincoln Health. After GSB she returned to the Miles campus of Lincoln Health and spent a year working in the Day Surgery unit before accepting the position at Lincoln Academy in September. She has a daughter, Harper, who is in ninth grade at LA, and a son, Flynn, who is in eighth grade at GSB.

Duffy is thrilled to have Lilly on board, and speaks to the particular skill set that she brings to the LA Health Center. “The world of education and the world of healthcare have their own language and their own expectations in terms of privacy. It is really helpful to have someone who understands both languages and can bridge those two worlds. Kerri also has an interest in behavioral health, and experience helping people with behavioral and mental health. She really is a perfect fit for this job.”

As for Lilly, she is happy to be back in a school environment. “I loved working with kids at GSB because they are able to express themselves so openly, and I got to know kids over time. Care is always more effective when it is based on relationships. Kids trust us, and that means we can help them build healthy habits. We can have a big impact if we can help kids learn self-care.”

“Having access to three social workers is also a really important part of what we do here,” Lilly continued. “During this pandemic this has been a necessity because mental health is the primary issue we see every day. I am grateful to be on a team that recognizes the importance of supporting kids through whatever they are facing.”

“We are fortunate to bring in a professional with Kerri’s experience to take over as the Director of the Health Center,” said Head of School Jeff Burroughs. “We are excited that Eric Duffy will remain part of this team and continue to work directly with Kerri. This shift increases the total nursing time available to students, and we are now appropriately staffed to deal with the physical and mental health issues facing our students in these challenging times.”

“People feel safe here in the Health Center,” said Lilly. “Students stop by whether they need a cough drop, a bandaid, a moment of quiet, or someone to talk to. There is no judgement here.”