Simcoe Composite School Grad,
Pauline Johnson Collegiate and Vocational School Leader
You Belong Herefeatures Grand Erie leaders who were once Grand Erie learners. It’s a then-and-now look at the lessons in learning, well-being and belonging that shaped their school experiences and continue to inspire them today.
Griffin Cobb is principal at Pauline Johnson Collegiate and Vocational School in Brantford, and attended Simcoe Composite School in Norfolk County as a student.
Tell us about your secondary school experience… in what ways did it allow you to become the leader you are today?
I really enjoyed my secondary school experience at Simcoe Composite School. School staff were dedicated to providing a lot of valuable learning experiences, both inside the classroom and beyond. I was involved in a lot of different school activities like athletics, clubs, and even a school-wide drama production one year, which might surprise some. Being involved in all these different activities provided for lot of leadership opportunities and pushed me out of my comfort zone at times, which taught me some very valuable lessons about the importance of getting involved and trying new things.
What were the popular trends when you were in secondary school?
It was the late ‘90s in a small town. Grunge and alternative music were popular, along with the clothing styles that went with it. The internet was just starting to become mainstream. We didn’t have cell phones and I spent most of my time hanging out with friends, playing sports, and finding things to do outdoors.
What’s it like being a leader in the same board where you were once a student?
I’m very proud to be a leader in the same board that I grew up in, and where I continue to live. I am a lifelong resident in the area, and have many deep connections within the various communities. My first vice-principal position was at SCS (Simcoe Composite School), which was both exciting and a little intimidating, but it was a fantastic opportunity to go back to a place that I felt very connected to.
What made/makes your school community special (both where you attended as a student and where you are now)?
It’s the people. We are so fortunate to work with so many great people across Grand Erie. I’ve lived and worked in just about every area of the board, and there are just so many great people everywhere you go. We have incredibly dedicated staff, students, families, and communities that support the work and learning happening in our schools every day.
What does ‘Learn Lead Inspire’ mean to you?
It’s a mindset that drives what we do every day. It is action-oriented and keeps us moving forward as we work to create meaningful learning experiences for our students and push them to engage in new opportunities and experiences. It takes commitment from everyone, working together to inspire the next generation. I believe in the importance of being there alongside everyone, getting involved, and leading by example. Leadership needs to be distributed throughout our schools and board so that we have influence and input from different perspectives and shared ownership in our goals and actions..