Katherine Cobb, President, Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy
When Katherine Cobb, J.D., was named president of Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy (HTEA) by the school’s board of trustees in April 2017, it was the culmination of a lengthy process of identifying the single most qualified person to proficiently lead the school into its future.
Today, Cobb is providing direction and oversight for 145 full- and part-time faculty and staff, as well as 850 students at two campuses … and she loves every minute of it.
“It was quite different than I expected at first,” said Cobb, who most recently served as provost and associate vice president for academic programs at Eastern Florida State College, “but I quickly embraced its dynamics. It’s invigorating, and being around the students keeps me young.”
Cobb’s hire seems a natural fit, as she has many ties to the school. Her children, Alex (30) and Allison (26), are HTEA alumni (graduating in 2006 and 2011 respectively). Her husband, Mark, attended the school in the 1960s. Cobb served as a member of the school’s board of trustees from 1989-1993, 2003-2009, and 2012-2014.
“When I was offered the job, I felt totally comfortable,” she said. “It was like coming home again.”
Cobb cites two influential women in her life, both of whom worked at HTEA. She met her mentor, Catherine Ford, through her involvement in the Junior League. Ford was head of school at Holy Trinity for 25 years. Reverend Joy Willard-Williford, a major inspiration in Cobb’s life, was chaplain at Holy Trinity for many years before she retired.
“I have deep respect for each of these women,” asserted Cobb. “They’ve offered me incredible insight and advice over the years.”
HTEA, celebrating its 61st anniversary this year, is a premiere private school that boasts a 100 percent college acceptance rate. Since 1957, the school has focused on educating and nourishing the whole child — mind, body and spirit — in the Episcopal tradition. Part of Cobb’s job as president is to continue to enhance educational opportunities while also upgrading the campus to include the newest technologies. She recently saw the renovation of the upper school library, which was equipped with new technology.
“Also, 80 percent of our students are involved in athletics, so we’re constantly identifying where we can improve our athletic programs and facilities,” she said.
The Space Coast has seen huge growth in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) careers in the last decade, and HTEA continues to incorporate these areas and expand on them in its curriculum. “Our vision is to have our students master core academic content while learning to work collaboratively with the skills necessary to succeed in a global workforce,” said Cobb.
Another part of her job as president is to be “present” in the region. Active engagement in the community, and the partnerships created as a result, are what have created a symbiotic relationship between the school and the community surrounding it.
“These relationships have helped me in my mission as president of the school,” acknowledged Cobb. “Schools don’t thrive in vacuums; the best schools are the ones that establish strong relationships with the people and businesses around them.”
Cobb, who came to the Space Coast via Miami, still marvels over the region’s natural beauty. “I drive over the Pineda Causeway every day, and it inspires me,” she said. “I get tears in my eyes crossing over the bridge and seeing the upper school chapel on the other side of it.”
Most of all, Cobb is inspired by her students. “They’re clever, intelligent kids who ‘wow’ me every day.”