Landi wants to get word out about Holy Trinity
Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy interim Head of School James Landi says his biggest challenge is “getting the word out about what a great school it is.” Photo by Carl Kotala
James Landi has been in education for more than 30 years, and there is always one thing he looks for.
“I’ve always tried to be in places where the children are put at the center of the program, where their needs — both the educational care of the child and also the nurturing of the child and the ethos of the organization supported the kids,” Holy Trinity’s interim Head of School said.
“This is a unique environment on both campuses.”
Landi, 69, was appointed on Sept. 23 to replace former Head of School Christopher Hayes, who abruptly resigned in July.
Though he holds the title of “interim” HOS, Landi made it clear he does not see himself being in the position of a caretaker.
“That was one of the questions I had (before I was hired) because I’m an activist,’ he said. “I always have been. I could not justify my existence on campus with a salary if I were simply acting as a figurehead. So during the vetting process, I said, ‘If this is what you want, I won’t sign on for that.’
“They wanted somebody who was an activist. They wanted somebody who was fully engaged. They wanted somebody who would take the school to the next step. And that’s what I’m doing.”
Landi, who is developing a tactical and strategical plan for the school going forward, believes his biggest challenge is simply getting the word out “about what a great school it is.”
As part of that effort, the school will have an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday Nov. 8 on the upper campus in Suntree and Nov. 7 on the lower campus in Melbourne. The school also encourages parents and students to bring their friends to campus during the year, believing that once a prospective student or their family member see the school, it will sell itself.
“The school is fully enrolled, but there should be even more pressure from the outside community in terms of people looking at the school and seeing what types of opportunities are available at the school for their children.
“I think many parents miss a golden opportunity to look at alternatives in education because their notion of education is that it’s the public school.”
Landi noted that college-prep schools that belong to the National Association of Independent Schools educate only .6 percent (or 600,000 of 50 million) of the school-age population.
Among the benefits of a school like Holy Trinity is not only the quality of the education the children will receive, but also the family-friendly environment in which it will take place.
“This is a school that embraces families as well as children, whereas in traditional mass education, that’s simply impossible,” Landi said. “In a school of 1,000 kids, you can’t have 2,000 parents at the door all the time.
“In a small-school setting like this, the parents are very important. They’re contributions, in terms of coming to events, in terms of supporting their kids, and the ways they can volunteer is a real plus.
“If you look at the school in terms of three legs of a stool, you’ve got the kids, you’ve got the teachers and you’ve got the parents. Parents are really important.”
In the short time he has been on campus, Landi has been impressed with the way the students have interacted, not only with each other, but with the teachers and administrators.
Whether the interim title is eventually removed from Landi’s title will be determined down the road, but for now he is fully engaged and appears to be enjoying being back in the education environment.
“It’s in my blood,” he said. “It’s hard not to do this kind of work. I’m coming out of my third retirement. … It’s not with any sense of a lack of energy or enthusiasm. It’s just really great to be back at school and see kids and teachers and parents.”