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Executive Profile , Stuart Grauer

BY ANDREW SCHWEIZER

Stuart Grauer is founder and head of The Grauer School, a private college prep school in Encinitas. Founded in 1991, the school prides itself on helping place students in top-tier colleges.


RESUME

Name: Stuart Grauer.

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Company: The Grauer School/The Grauer Foundation for Education.

Titles: Head of school and president of foundation.

Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees; doctorate from the University of San Diego.

Birthplace: Manhasset, Long Island, New York.

Age: 57.

Current residence: Encinitas.

Family: Wife, Sally, and daughter, Audrey, a high school freshman.


BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

Essential business philosophy: Listen with an open heart to the conversations of your students, clients and the community, and see how they connect to larger conversations.

Best way to keep a competitive edge: Flexibility. When something feels too much like a system we throw it out. After all, we’re not making widgets, we’re developing future leaders.

Guiding principles: You can’t solve emerging problems with the same thinking that created them, you need to be flexible, unattached to fixed goals, always at the edge of possibility. People are complex: You can’t put them in job slots. Create an open system where people can utilize any talent they have. That’s the same resourcefulness we want our graduates to have.

Yardsticks of success: Our 16 graduating seniors have received $1,278,000 in scholarship offers this year! All are in their first-choice schools.

Goals yet to be achieved: Complete our performance space and sports facilities, and build our final “Phase 3” building.


JUDGMENT CALLS

Best business decision: Purchase 5 acres of land in coastal Encinitas.

Worst business decision: Missing a few surf trips that would have energized me.

Toughest business decision: Every business decision I’ve made in 17 years has been obvious. I’ve never had a tough decision. Although I admit that when the son of a dedicated donor was caught plagiarizing it took a while before resolution.

Biggest missed opportunity: We’ve been offered branches in Vietnam, China and Korea, but I don’t seem to ever take the time to work on the details.

Mentor: Joseph Rost, retired leadership scholar at the University of San Diego.

Word that describes you: Imaginative.


TRUE CONFESSIONS

What you like best about your job: There is no facet of my skill-set or potential that is not drawn upon.

What you like least about your job: It’s sometimes hard to adjust to the endlessness of the tasks.

Pet peeves: 9 to 5-ers who work without passion. Pursue something you care about!

Most important lesson learned: Not everyone will understand how much organizational leaders give of themselves.

Person most interested in meeting: I’d like to meet all of the San Diego secondary-school level, private, and independent-school heads together in one place and have a great conversation.

Three greatest passions: Humanitarian education, surfing, writing.

First choice for a new career: College professor.


PREDILECTIONS

Favorite quote: “Preserve the natural humor of life.” , D.H. Lawrence.

Most influential book: “The Art of Happiness,” by Dalai Lama.

Favorite status symbol: Ski vacations.

Favorite restaurant: Firenze Trattoria, Rancho Santa Fe.

Favorite place for business meetings: On campus.

Favorite vacation spot: Kauai, Hawaii.

Favorite ways to spend time: Surfing, reading, writing.

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