Stephen has lived in San Diego for 16 years. He resides in Clairemont with his wife and three children, two of them currently attending a school in the San Diego Unified School District. This is where Stephen has found his passion in ensuring educational equity for all. Stephen has been a fraud investigation, asset protection, risk management and safety professional for over 17 years. During his career he enjoyed serving at Executive and Management level positions for several national and regional retail store and commercial bank chains such as Sport Chalet, Anna's Linens, L.L. Bean, and Bank of America, to name a few.
Armed with his MBA from Trident University International, he is currently the Chief Executive Officer of BUILT by PN Industries, Inc, the parent company of LEGACY Parenting Survival Wear, a company that he and his family have created with one goal in mind - to help new parents create a lifelong bonding experience with their child, while stimulating early stage learning and development. The company also includes a second division, Trifecta Business Strategies, that focuses on the backbone of the American economy: small businesses. As an Entrepreneur, he believes that internal and external customer service is essential in changing the culture of any organization.
In 2018 Stephen accepted a contract position with the U.S. Department of Education (Westat) as a California State Assessment Coordinator for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Here he contributed to the development of the current United States education report card that compares the United States education competencies against the rest of the world. It was during this contract that he gained first-hand information on student knowledge and performance.
Stephen’s volunteer work across San Diego is unsurpassed by very few. As the current Chairman of the City of San Diego’s Human Relations Commission, he has pushed the Commission to take positions that support inclusivity across the region and help schools with conflict resolution through Restorative Practices. He holds several advisory positions in many unique sectors such as the San Diego Police Department in multiple divisions, Kim Center for Social Balance, Clairemont Town Council, FBI Citizen’s Academy Alumni Association, Mesa Community College School of Business, Clairemont 52 Weeks of Science Advisory, Field Elementary PTA, and Welcoming SD (City of San Diego’s Office of Immigrant Affairs).
" When you plant the seed of Passion, you grow the tree of Desire, and eventually you will relax in the shade of Achievement."
- Stephen N. Groce
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
His experience managing asset protection and risk management departments both locally and nationally, multi-million-dollar budgets, and volunteer roles on many advisory boards for community based and non-profit organizations qualify him to fill the role as School Board Trustee. His background in entrepreneurship, fraud investigations, and leadership inform his mindful but competitive approach. Stephen is fueled by his passion for understanding the nuances of our current educational environment.
He considers himself a ‘forever student,’ eager to both build on his academic foundations in business, criminal justice and legal studies, but stay in tune with the latest teaching and learning pedagogies and strategies through continued preparation.
His hunger for “living the listen”, continued knowledge and determination to turn information into action has contributed to his most recent success at Westat, where he led one of the most efficient California based teams. Meanwhile, he has vastly improved the partnerships with school Principals, Teachers, and Classified staff by implementing strategic leadership methods learned from his MBA program majoring in Strategic & Organizational Leadership.
Stephen believes mindfulness in the organization and on the board is key to success - a tenet he lives out through his interests in mental, physical and emotional health. Stephen is currently working to improve the lives of all San Diegans by ‘lifting’ his cohorts and clients who are always interested in challenging the status quo of their industries.
Today, Stephen wants to serve as your voice in the San Diego School District. One that echoes your concerns. A voice for Equity, Transparency, Accountability, Reconciliation and Safety.