Holy Trinity names Cobb as school’s first president
Landi to help with transition, then depart
Katherine Cobb has been named by Holy Trinity as the school's first president.
VIERA VOICE Courtesy Holy Trinity
Katherine Cobb won’t officially begin her new job as president of Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy until April 17, but the announcement that the longtime Brevard County resident has been hired is already receiving rave reviews.
“We went up in front of the Upper School colleagues and the Lower School colleagues (last week) and it was just great to sit in the front of the room and watch faces,” Holy Trinity Headmaster James Landi said. “There were a lot of smiles.”
Cobb, 58, will be the first president in the 60-year history of the school as it transitions into a different model of leadership that both Landi and Holy Trinity Board of Trustees Chairperson Dana Kilborne have said has been successfully implemented at other independent schools throughout the United States.
Landi will remain at Holy Trinity through the rest of the school year to work with Cobb on the transfer of leadership.
Though she currently serves as provost and associate vice president for academic programs at Eastern Florida State College (EFSC), Cobb is well known in the Holy Trinity community.
She has served three different stints as a member of Holy Trinity’s Board of Trustees (1989-93, 2003-09 and 2012-14). She and her husband, Mark, are also the parents of two Holy Trinity graduates.
“To be able to come into a place that I know and I love, and a place of leadership was certainly appealing to me,” Cobb said. “And, of course, (it is) a Christian environment.
“I’ve been in education for 25 years, but it’s been in public institutions. The Christian environment here, the faculty and staff that I already knew and the others that I know about ... what they stand for and what they do on a day in and day out basis is what really drew me.”
Cobb was selected from a nation-wide pool of candidates to oversee the school’s two campuses which are home to approximately 145 full and part-time faculty and staff along with 850 students.
In a statement released by the school, Kilborne talked about the work put in by the school’s search committee, which was put together after the position was opened last fall.
“As the search continued, the committee discerned that the most distinguished candidate – an established leader in the field of education, with an understanding of the strategic dynamics of school operations – was also a natural fit for HTEA, with close ties to the school and to the local community,” Kilborne said. “We could not be more pleased to welcome Dr. Katherine Cobb as our school’s first president.”
A graduate of Stetson University, Cobb received a Juris Doctorate from Stetson School of Law and practiced law for a number of years before joining EFSC. She has also been quite active in the Space Coast community, serving as a board member for a number of organizations, including her current role as chairperson for the Brevard Neighborhood Development Coalition.
Though he played no part in the search committee, it was Landi who first put the bug in her ear about the position of president at Holy Trinity following a meeting with Cobb and her husband about another matter and getting an “intuition” that the job would be a good fit.
“We have (approximately 145) people that work here, so there’s a passionate commitment to the place,” Landi said. “There are social affiliations, religious affiliations and there’s the care and nurturing education of children.
“It’s a very encompassing, driving force in your life. So when you’re handing it off to someone, you want to make sure it’s someone you have good feelings about.”
As a longtime educator, a former Holy Trinity board member and perhaps even more importantly, a former Holy Trinity parent, Cobb would certainly seem uniquely qualified to lead the school into the future.
“I’ve actually had a front row seat in how this place operates,” she said. “I have often told other parents of children that are not at Holy Trinity that it is the single best decision – other than getting married – that my husband and I have made.”
It is because Holy Trinity has found someone Landi feels is the “right” candidate that he feels comfortable leaving the school after a two-year stint that was originally only supposed to be for a few months.
The 71-year-old indicated he and his wife, Kristina – who teaches English at Holy Trinity – will likely take a year off and then look for another opportunity.
In the meantime, he will help with the transition, which he expects to go smoothly.
“A place like this has its own personality, so if you have somebody who knows it – she’s been on the board, been a trustee – there’s no learning curve here,” he said. “It’s basically letting Kathy know what we’ve been doing recently and cutting her loose to do what she does.
“I know she’s going to do well.”