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Board of Trustees

An illustration of The Grauer School


"The Grauer School is an incubator for imaginative, independent minds. It knows the art of enchanting students with the joys of learning."
—Doug Katz, Board Member 2010-2017

Non-Profit Private School in San Diego

The Grauer Foundation for Education, a.k.a. The Grauer School, is a non-profit independent school in San Diego. As both an institution for learning and a public charity, we are overseen by our dedicated panel of trustee board members. Our trustee board members’ commitment to our organization represents the highest level of service. Our trustee board members include current and alumni parents, alumni students, and community members, as well as educational experts who are role models of dedication, giving, and service.

The Grauer School was started as a sole proprietorship in 1991 and was served by an advisory board. We formed our first non-profit board in 1997 with just two seats. Today, we are a 501(c)(3) California not-for-profit corporation, and our board is ably served by between 7 and 14 board of trustee members. We have various standing and advisory committees, supported by a dedicated staff and various ad hoc groups.  Our board ensures oversight of the mission, high performance, fiscal responsibility, philanthropy, and community advocacy.

The Grauer School's Environmental Stewardship Initiative

In the 2019-2020 school year, The Grauer School dedicated the entire school year to an all-campus effort to embrace sustainable environmental practices and work to reduce the local and global impacts of climate change. A joint resolution passed by the school's Board of Trustees, faculty and students - a first for the school since its founding in 1991 - called for action to help turn back the Earth's rising temperatures, and to use environmentally sustainable practices wherever possible. The initiative encompasses the entire school community, from curriculum in all academic disciplines, to student activities on and off campus, as well as the school's front-office functions. This resolution highlights Grauer’s long tradition of expeditionary learning, which takes students on immersive cultural and ecological expeditions all over the world twice yearly, in addition to year-long experiential learning.

Read the text of The Grauer School's CLIMATE CHANGE Resolution

"The Grauer School has a long history of teaching and practicing environmental sustainability. Even our mascot, the gorilla, was intended to showcase and support a critically endangered species. But we feel a new sense of urgency to be good stewards of the environment and address climate change based on recent science, which warns of the potentially catastrophic consequences of inaction," said Dr. Stuart Grauer, Head of School and the school's founder.

The initiative, although grounded in the school's academic curriculum, goes well beyond into all aspects of campus life, and is ongoing through subsequent school years. "We are convinced that it is important to not only teach our students to care for and protect the environment, but to model what it looks like to live an environmentally responsible life. That's why we are dedicated to increasing the students' environmental intelligence through the school curriculum, and across every facet of the school's operations," said Craig Gertz, former Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Meet Our Trustee Board Members

As is the case with most independent schools, our trustee board members represent the highest-level decision-making authority in our organization. Trustees do not intervene in the daily affairs of the school, such as curriculum development, admissions, or personnel. Instead, our board members focus on three areas critical to the success of any independent school:

  • The selection, evaluation and support of the Head of School, to whom it delegates authority to manage the school
  • The development of broad institutional policies that guide the Head in running the school
  • Accountability for the sustained financial well-being of the school

We welcome you to get to know our trustee board members better by viewing their biographies below.

Board of Trustees Committees

The Grauer School has various standing and advisory committees, supported by a dedicated staff and various ad hoc groups.  We are a small board and so our whole board considers many issues that go to committee on larger boards in larger schools.  Our board of trustees committees and advisory committees ensure oversight, high performance, fiscal responsibility, philanthropy, and community advocacy. We welcome you to learn more about our board of trustees.

Board Of Trustees Candidates

As one of the most inclusive, egalitarian educational non-profit organizations in San Diego, The Grauer Foundation Governance Advisory Committee when active continually identifies and evaluates Trustee candidates from the parent, alumni, and wider communities. It employs a matrix of skills and experiences currently sought to ensure diversity of experience, perspective, and acumen.

If you have experience in independent school governance or are interested in this area, we hope you’ll inquire about board membership. Membership means taking part in one of the only premier educational non-profit organizations in San Diego dedicated to providing humanitarian education for middle and high school students of all cultures, religions and walks-of-life.

If you are interested in learning more about serving on our board, we welcome you to contact our Head of School or Board Chair. Our board typically meets eight times per year including a formal Annual Meeting and an extended all-board retreat. Thank you for your interest in The Grauer School, the non-profit private school in San Diego setting the bar for student-centered academic achievement and social empowerment.

Contact Head of School

The Grauer School's Tolerance Gateway entrance to the school

Succession And A Sustainable Organization

“Four pillars for the next generation” were provided by Dr. Stuart Grauer in formally turning over the sole membership to our expanded, independent board, as rationale for that transition: 

  1. Sustaining the small school model and vision [1],
  2. Resisting the inflexible controls and politics of larger institutions (keeping the spirit of entrepreneurship and freedom alive at all levels),
  3. Completing the campus with minimal debt, and
  4. Building endowment ($20-80 million).

Founder Succession Personal Statement

"It was with substantial risk and sacrifice that I gave my life’s best work over to a not-for-profit public charity foundation independent board so that it might become more permanent, and I understand my inability to 'rule from the grave'. I hope my heirs will be honored as permanent and recognized members of the School community and that their wisdom is actively sought.

Imaginative entrepreneurs, by orientation, seize upon opportunity (often unseen or undervalued by others) and hold fast to ideals, and it has always been my concern that a corporate board may more readily capitulate to standardization, control, government pressure, social expectations or other such constant challenges that will drive our organization towards the mediocrity and bureaucratic rigidity it was founded to avoid. There will be no end of people, including Trustees, attempting to assert controls and systems, always with compelling and sometimes threatening sounding rationale, also such as we were founded to avoid. Risk is essential to our edge, a permanent condition, and that edge is not for the conventional—there are too many things wrong with the system we are here to avoid, and too many reasons for those wrongs that appeal to the risk-averse. It will be fine to survive against odds and to assume risk if it means adhering to founding values and essence.

We have a long way to go towards developing a culture that knows how to listen to young people and respect them as legitimate human beings. I hope our future boards and all my successors will fight any obstacles, however great, that could cause our school to become a more controlling and controlled place, less self-directed for students, or less entrepreneurial or empowering to our leadership, and that they will trend only towards the perpetual making of a more liberating environment for youths developing their voices, their teachers who hear those voices empathically, and those trustees who manage to see how precious little regulation we really need as a way of showing our wisest support.

Our Board is charged with sustaining this organization and verifying its mission. Yet no board member can know the realities, art, and nuances that sustain and balance our organization, such as managed by the site leadership, who are the experts in the field: succession must entail a partnership with and the deepest reasonable trust in our organization’s leadership team for this information.

Commitment to this Succession Plan enables us to express all of our confidence in the continuing evolution of the school in its efforts to advance highly imaginative, liberating humanitarian education and leadership for the coming generations."

                                                       —Stuart Grauer

[1] Small schools, under around 225 students, facilitate impromptu committee formation and problem solving, student age-mixing, flexibility, and personalization at all levels including governance. Moreover, small schools are of a size that is particularly capable of expressing their biggest values in the smallest day to day actions.