Announcement from the Board of Trustees

Kathy Cook joined Trident Academy in 2013 to help usher in a reimagined mission for the school. With her leadership, Trident Academy expanded its mission to provide specialized education to students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) as well as children with a language-based learning difference. The school captured the attention of hundreds of families and strengthened its bonds with organizations across the Lowcountry under Dr. Cook’s tenure. Today, with bittersweet emotions, Dr. Cook announced her intention to retire at the end of this year after 31 years in educational leadership. The Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Betsy Fanning will work with Dr. Cook in the remaining months to prepare for her role as Interim Head of School.

“Dr. Cook was instrumental in building the school’s program for students with ASD and impacted the lives of all our students,” shared Michael Jeresaty, Board of Trustees President. “Working with Dr. Cook this spring will help Mrs. Fanning provide a seamless transition into an exciting new school year.”

Mrs. Fanning returns to Trident Academy where she found her passion in education after completing a course in Orton-Gillingham 25 years ago. With a Master of Arts in Teaching Special Education with a focus on learning disabilities as well as a Master of Education in School Administration, Mrs. Fanning’s career includes time as an educator as well as an Assistant and Associate Head of School. “I am thrilled to be back working with top notch educators who work tirelessly to help students achieve their goals,” Mrs. Fanning expressed.

Additional leadership changes include Nicole McLain and Courtney Thames. Ms. McLain and Ms. Thames have been indispensable in the creation of Trident Academy’s program for students with ASD and community education programs regarding autism. Ms. McLain has accepted a position with Heartspring, Inc. in Kansas where she will expand her career in helping individuals with special needs lead a more independent life. Ms. McLain’s career started in Kansas where she was one of the first in the state to earn her certification as an autism specialist. Ms. McLain has deep roots in Kansas, both with her career and her family, and she embraces this opportunity to return. After building a strong ABA therapy-based program at Trident Academy, Ms. Thames will return to the Midlands where she will also focus on her family and the growth of her business, Carolina ABA Solutions.

“These women have made a significant impact on many lives while at Trident Academy,” Mr. Jeresaty said. “We are grateful for their dedication to our school and the community and look forward to learning of their future successes.”

Trident Academy has served students with learning differences since 1972. Receive news about events and programs in your email by subscribing to our e-newsletter. To discuss future developments and opportunities, contact Mike Jeresaty at

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