Hackley Board Announces Leadership Transition

John Canoni, Hackley Class of 1986, has announced his decision to resign his role as President of the Hackley Board of Trustees, effective June 30, 2020 after five years serving in this role. He will continue to serve Hackley School as a member of the Board. Trustee H. Rodgin Cohen will succeed John Canoni as the sixteenth President of the Hackley Board of Trustees, effective July 1, 2020.

A graduate of Amherst College, John Canoni earned his J.D. from Fordham University, and was a partner at several New York law firms before relocating in 2019 to Dallas, Texas where he now works at Stanton LLP. With distance and travel now making his leadership role at Hackley more difficult, he has chosen to graduate from his role as President in the year that his daughter, Jenny ‘20, graduates from Hackley as well.

John’s exemplary service to Hackley School began soon after his graduation, when he assumed the role of Class Agent, leading his class’s engagement efforts through Class Notes, fundraising and reunions. He was named to the Hackley Alumni Association (HAA) Board of Directors in 1991, served as Secretary from 1995-1997, and as President from 1997 to 2001, during which time alumni annual fund participation increased from 14% to 25%, and the HAA actively expanded its national engagement efforts. When he ended his tenure as President, the HAA Board of Directors honored him with the creation of the John Canoni Travel Program, which helps support student participation in Hackley’s international travel programs. He remains an Honorary Director of HAA to this day.

Appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2006, John served as chair of the Board’s Buildings and Grounds Committee, where he was a critical force in planning and executing numerous campus projects. Beginning with the campus beautification project that included the redesigned main entrance and other landscaping improvements, the renovations of Goodhue and Raymond, and the construction of the northern athletic fields, and finishing with early planning for faculty housing and the Johnson Center for Health and Wellness, John’s leadership helped transform the physical layout of campus. He served as co-chair, with John Torell and Neal Leonard, of The Legacy Campaign. Named President of the Board effective July 1, 2015, he oversaw the transition from Walter Johnson’s leadership to Michael Wirtz’s installation as Hackley’s 12th Head of School.

Fellow trustees are grateful for John’s exceptional leadership. Kaveh Khosrowshahi ’85 reflects that “John Canoni’s dedication as an all-around Hackley Hornet is unmatched. He was somehow a full-time chairman of the board, parent, and Hackley alumnus and he fulfilled each of these roles with passion, patience, and a keen sense of fairness and team play.” Maria Docters P ’17, ’18, ’21 adds, “From giving up his own vacation days to visit alumni around the country, spending endless hours of his time to secure gifts, and more, John always does beyond what he is asked for. His selfless nature and unreserved care for the Hackley community has made him an example to follow.”

We are grateful to know that John will continue to serve Hackley School as a member of the Board, ensuring the smooth transition to our new leadership.

We are fortunate to welcome H. Rodgin Cohen, a Hackley trustee since 2002, to the role of Board President. Senior chairman of the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, Rodge Cohen’s practice centers on banking and financial institutions, and he is widely recognized among the experts who helped resolve the major banking crises of recent decades. He also led the Wall Street community in rallying support for Lower Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks, and was part of the bank negotiations that resulted in the release of the freeing of Americans in the Iran hostage crisis in 1981. His son, Jonathan, graduated from Hackley in 2008, and Rodge has continued in his leadership at Hackley ever since.

As John Canoni noted, "The ideal scenario is to find a replacement who can continue to steward and lead the institution effectively in their first day in the role. Hackley is indeed in excellent hands with Rodge on July 1. When Rodge speaks, people pay attention. He has years of independent school board leadership experience beyond his in-depth knowledge of Hackley from 18 years of service here. More importantly, he has the demeanor, tact and thoughtfulness required to lead a board filled with talented trustees, which Hackley is fortunate to have. Rodge's wisdom and grasp of the important issues will serve him and Hackley well in the years to come."

In considering his new role, Rodge Cohen observes, “John Canoni has been the epitome of leadership in public service as President of the Hackley Board of Trustees. He has provided unerring judgment, unwavering integrity and total commitment. And, he has done so with grace, accessibility and humility.” He reflects, “In being privileged and honored to succeed John, I will be able to emulate the ideal role model. Hackley is blessed with so many strengths -- faculty, administrators, parents, alumni, board and campus -- that we can offer a uniquely fulfilling educational opportunity for all our students. The COVID-19 pandemic, as devastating and debilitating as it has been, demonstrates the strength of our unity and resolve of our community.”

Please join us in thanking John Canoni for his extraordinary service as Board President, and in welcoming Rodge Cohen to this role. The stewardship of Hackley’s mission remains in good hands.