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Board of Trustees

"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

The Grauer Foundation for Education, a.k.a. The Grauer School, is a 501(c)(3) public charity overseen by our dedicated Board of Trustees. Membership on our board is considered the highest level of service to our organization. Our board includes current and alumni parents, community members, and 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 14-member 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 volunteer Board holds the school “in trust” for future generations, and as in most independent schools, is the highest-level decision-making authority. Trustees do not intervene in the daily affairs of the school, such as curriculum development, admissions, or personnel.

Instead, the Board focuses on three areas critical to the success of any independent school:

  • It selects, evaluates and supports the Head of School, to whom it delegates authority to manage the school;
  • It develops broad institutional policies that guide the Head in running the school; and
  • It is accountable for the financial well-being of the school.

The Governance Committee continually identifies and evaluates Trustee candidates from the parent, alumni, and wider communities using a matrix of skills and experience currently sought, to ensure diversity of experience, perspective, and skills. If you have experience in independent school governance or are interested in this area, we hope you’ll inquire about board membership. Those interested typically contact the head of school or the board chair.

Our board typically meets eight times per year including a formal Annual Meeting and an extended all-board retreat.

The Grauer School's Board of Trustees

The Grauer Foundation for Education - Board of Trustees

Front Row (Left to Right): Scott Berlin; Debi Heiskala; David Meyer; Dr. Stuart Grauer, Head of School; Wendi Wardlow; Katherine White; Jason Pang

Back Row (Left to Right): Craig Gertz, Chairperson; Sheila Wirick, Secretary; Mike Weir; Cliff Pia; Alex Levine; David Cumming, Finance Chair

Meet the Board

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

David Cumming, Finance Chair

Rancho Santa Fe, CA
Trustee since Fall, 2016

Committees: Finance, Advancement
Other Affiliations: Board Member Rowland-Hall St. Mark’s School in Salt Lake City, Utah Board Chair, Another Way School Park City, Utah

Education: BA Art History, University of Utah, MBA, University of Utah

Occupation: Entrepreneur, business owner

Sheila Wirick, Board Secretary

Olivenhain, CA
Trustee since 2009

Committees: Governance Chair, Advancement, Audit, Parent Association
Other Affiliations: Board of Management, Ecke Family YMCA; Volunteer, Scripps Hospice

Education: BA, University of Oklahoma

Occupation: Administrator, Community Volunteer

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

Debi Heiskala

Cardiff by the Sea, CA
Trustee since 2018

Committees: Finance, Audit

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

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

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

Alex Levine

San Diego, CA
Trustee since Fall 2017

Other Affiliations: Alumni, The Grauer School

Education: BA, Gonzaga University,
MBA, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School

Occupation: Advertising Executive

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

Wendy Wardlow

Carlsbad, CA
Trustee since Fall 2017

Education: Whittier College, BA Sociology/History; Pepperdine University, MS Educational Administration

Occupation: Principal, Del Mar Heights School

Mike Weir

Trustee since Spring 2016

Committees: Advancement

Education: BA, UCSD, MBA, The Wharton School

Occupation: General Manager & Global Head, Managed Prints Services at Hewlett-Packard

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

Observers of the Board

Lorin Port, Controller

Grauer Board of Trustees Committees

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.

  • It 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)