Above Nav Container

Utility Container

Search Trigger (Container)

Button (Container)

Button 2 (Container)

Mobile Menu Trigger (container)

Off Canvas Navigation Container

Close Trigger (container)


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 private school in San Diego. As both an institution for learning and a 501(c)(3) 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, our board is ably served by 7 standing committees, a dedicated staff, and various ad hoc groups that ensure oversight, high performance, fiscal responsibility, philanthropy, and community advocacy.

The Grauer School's Environmental Stewardship Initiative for 2019-2020

The Grauer School has dedicated the 2019-2020 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 - calls 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 new 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.

"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, 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.

Dr. Stuart Grauer, Ed.D, Head of School

Encinitas, CA
Founder of School, 1991

Other Affiliations: Dr. Grauer accredits and consults for schools around the world, serves on various non-profit boards, and is a frequent speaker at professional conferences.

Education: B.A.; Masters; Doctorate in Educational Leadership, University of San Diego

: Founder & Head of School, Teacher, Author

Click here for Stuart’s LATEST book, Fearless Teaching
Click here for Stuart's Column

Craig Gertz, Chairperson

Encinitas, CA
Trustee since 2015

Committees: Finance, Audit, Advancement, Governance
Other Affiliations: Past experience includes The Board of Trustees of The Village of Grayslake, Illinois, The Village’s Environmental and Open Space Commission, Village of Long Grove, Illinois Planning Commission

: BA cum laude, Princeton University, JD Northwestern University Law School

: Daspin & Aument, LLP, Attorney

Scott Berlin

Encinitas, CA
Trustee since Fall 2017

Other Affiliations: The Hakluyt Society

Education: BA, Theater & Film, University of California, Santa Cruz

Occupation: Chief Operating Officer & Executive Producer, G&R Live

Julie Dunne

San Diego, CA
Trustee since 2019

Education: B.A., University of Michigan; J.D., University of San Diego School of Law

Occupation: Co-Chair, Retail Industry Group,  Littler

Other Affiliations: National Retail Federation, National Retail Federation Litigation Council, Employers Group Legal Committee, San Diego County Bar Association

Efrain Figueroa

Trustee since Fall 2019

Education: BS in Physics: Universidad del Valle in Guatemala City; Ph.D. in Physics: University of Kentucky; M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering: Georgia Institute of Technology

Occupation: Technology Commercialization Consultant

Debi Heiskala

Cardiff by the Sea, CA
Trustee since 2018

Committees: Finance, Audit

Education: B.S. Accounting, San Diego State University, M.S. Taxation, San Diego State University

Occupation: Tax Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, C.P.A.

Other Affiliations: Past experience includes Classics 4 Kids, Audit Committee of San Diego Opera

David Meyer

Encinitas, CA
Trustee since 1996

Committees: Finance, Building & Architecture

Education: Tulane University

Occupation: President, DCM Properties

Jason Pang

San Marcos, CA
Trustee since 2014

Committees: Advancement

Other Affiliations: StockTwits, Inc.; SPARK Finance, CEO; PRIMA Cinema, CEO; The Founder Institute, Mentor & Advisor; DivX Inc., Sr. Director, Business & Marketing; Accenture, Technical Architecture Manager

Education: Texas A&M University, BS & MS Engineering

Occupation: Technology Entrepreneur

Cliff Pia

Carlsbad, CA
Trustee since 2013

Committees: Advancement, Marketing

Occupation: Chief Creative Officer / Co-Founder, PIA Agency. Creative Director, Story Strategist, Executive Performance Coach, Speaker

Education: Fairfield University, Berklee School of Music, Wharton School of Marketing Executive Program, Disney Institute of Management Executive Program, and Anthony Robbins Mastery University

Katherine White

Del Mar, CA
Trustee since Spring 2017

Committees: Governance

Education: UC Davis: American Studies & Mathematics; Santa Clara University: MSEE Computer Science

Occupation: Retired; President of Grauer's Parent Association

Sara Zelazny

Trustee since Fall 2019

Other Affiliations: Alumni, The Grauer School

Education: BS in Accounting: Stonehill College; Masters in Taxation: University of San Diego

Occupation: Certified Public Accountant and International Tax Senior Manager, Abbott Laboratories' Corporate Tax Division

Observers of the Board

Lorin Port, Controller

The current Grauer School Board of Trustees

The Grauer Foundation for Education - Board of Trustees
Front Row (Left to Right): Scott Berlin; Katherine White; Jason Pang; Debi Heiskala; Dr. Stuart Grauer, Head of School; David Meyer. Back Row (Left to Right): Mike Weir; Craig Gertz, Chairperson; Alex Levine; Wendy Wardlow. Not Pictured: Cliff Pia.

Board of Trustees Committees

The Grauer School is ably served by seven standing board of trustees committees, a dedicated staff, and various ad hoc groups. Our board of trustees committees ensure oversight, high performance, fiscal responsibility, philanthropy, and community advocacy. We welcome you to learn more about our seven standing board of trustees committees below.

Advancement Committee

The Advancement (and Development) Committee oversees the strategic direction and implementation of the School’s development and marketing efforts. The committee works with the Head of School and Development staff to support the program. It is also the role of the committee to keep the Trustee’s ongoing development responsibility in mind.

  • The Development Committee assists in the establishment of all development policies and operating plans, and works with the development office to create short and long-term goals. In addition, members of the Advancement Committee sometimes help connect with, cultivate, and solicit prospective donors. (Meets irregularly)

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee assists the Board of Trustees and the Grauer financial staff team in fulfilling oversight responsibilities.

  • The committee makes recommendations to the Board concerning the hiring, retention, and termination of an independent auditor, negotiates compensation of the auditor and conducts a review of Grauer’s annual audit and form 990. It determines whether or not to accept the audit and provides an avenue of communication among the school’s independent auditors, Administration, and the Board. (Meets approximately twice a year)
  • The committee also routinely inspects (“walks”) the site and makes recommendations for maintenance and deferred maintenance on all facilities.

Building Committee

The Building Committee is charged with all of the planning, review, timelines and approvals of design for the new classroom building.

  • Formed in 1997 by David Meyer and Dr. Grauer as the first committee of the newly formed “non-profit” entity, the committee has deep expertise in design, project management, architecture, construction and environmental sustainability. The committee has presided over the original El Camino Real land purchase, the purchase of the early portable “trailer” classrooms, the building of the Great Hall now named David Meyer Hall, the building of the Phase III buildings, and the building of the Justice Center for the Performing Arts.
  • The committee also routinely inspects (“walks”) the site and makes recommendations for maintenance and deferred maintenance on all facilities.

Endowment Committee

(This common independent school committee is currently a subcommittee of the Grauer Finance Committee.) The Board of Trustees has the final responsibility for the stewardship of the endowment and approval of the investment policy.

  • The Endowment Management Committee supervises and monitors the Endowment in accordance with industry and ethical practice. Activities include making recommendations to the full Board as regards to needed changes in the investment polocy, including the distribution policy, the asset allocation policy, and the selection of investment managers. In addition, the committee reviews the endowment balance, investment strategy, and performance.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee currently consists of the Board Chair, Finance Committee Chair, and Building Committee Chair, but composition can change at the discretion of the Chair.

  • The Executive Committee coordinates the work of the Board, serves as a sounding board for the Head and the Board President, and makes recommendations to the full Board on important issues. Tasks include creating Board meeting agendas and annual Board goals. (Meets prior to each Board meeting or as needed)

Finance Committee

The Board of Trustees has primary responsibility for the long-term fiscal health of the school.

  • The Finance Committee provides prudent oversight of the financial operations of the school, to review the fiscal impact of proposed new Board initiatives, and to make recommendations to the Board on financial decisions. The committee oversees the annual budget planning process and insurance coverage, and periodically reviews teacher assistance programs and (in subcommittee) the Sustainable Tuition Program. (Meets the week before each full board meeting and more frequently if necessary)

Governance Committee

The Governance Committee ensures that the Board of Trustees provides effective governance for the school. The Committee:

  • Identifies, cultivates, recruits, recommends for election and orients new Trustees
  • Designs programs for Trustee nurturing and bonding, including mentoring program
  • Re-nominates current Trustees to additional terms
  • Nominates Board officers
  • Is responsible for succession for the Board President and Committee Chairs
  • Identifies Board’s need for education and designs vehicles to meet those needs
  • Organizes recognition of individual trustees
  • Ensures currency and accuracy of bylaws and other Board policies
  • Monitors and manages issues relating to Conflict of Interest Policy
  • Considers policies and activities with respect to Emeritus Trustees
  • Facilitates Board self-assessment and Head of School evaluation
  • Monitors the overall health of the Board and Board relationships
  • (Meets nearly every month)

The Grauer School's Tolerance Gateway entrance to the school

Educational Non-Profit Organizations in San Diego

As one of the most inclusive, egalitarian educational non-profit organizations in San DIego, The Grauer School Governance Committee 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