In Memoriam

In Memoriam
Posted on 01/01/2021

Obituary notices and memorial service announcements for current or past San Diego Unified employees can be included in the In Memoriam section of Newsline by e-mailing Out of respect for the individual, please include a link to a formal obituary or provide as much detail as possible about the individual's life and involvement at San Diego Unified.

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Robert J. Grano
March 30, 1957 - November 4, 2021

Robert J. Grano was born in Queens, New York on March 30, 1957 to Italian parents, Raffaelina Altomare and Ralph Grano.  Robert loved growing up in New York with his two brothers and one sister and was proud of his Italian heritage.  He attended Catholic school for elementary and junior high and then attended public school during high school.  Robert had a gift for languages and majored in Spanish and minored in Italian Literature at Queens College, New York.  He was fluent in both languages.  His passion for learning, as well as his love for children lead him to become a teacher.  In 1980, he followed his brothers to San Diego, CA where he met his wife Nancy.  They settled in Penasquitos and later Scripps Ranch and raised three children, Jared, Andrew and Rachel. 

His professional journey was 38 years long and began and ended with San Diego Unified School District.  His first job was substitute teaching.  Within a year, he became a classroom teacher at Lowell Elementary school.  He worked for several years as a bilingual Spanish teacher at Spreckels Elementary School teaching kindergarten. 

He moved to upper grades in 1986, and taught Spanish as a Second Language at DePortola Middle School.  At this point in his career, it became apparent that he wanted to work with teachers and administrators and focused on becoming a principal.  He worked as a resource teacher at Jackson Elementary as well as Memorial Academy.  He became a Vice Principal in 1994 and worked for five years at Pacific Beach Middle School. 

In 1999 Robert achieved his goal and became principal at Rolando Park Elementary School.  Two years later, he was assigned principal at Wagenheim Middle School, a position that remained one of his fondest.  His drive to succeed led him to become an Area Superintendent, a Director of Student Programs and Professional Learning, and a Director of Educational Technology.  His last assignment for San Diego Unified School District was perhaps the one he cherished the most.  He worked at Kumeyaay Elementary School as a Spanish Teacher.  He began and ended his career doing what he loved - teaching children.  Robert retired in 2018.

Robert's ambition to learn continued throughout his career.  It led him to complete a Master's degree in educational administration from San Diego State University and at age 56 he earned a Doctorate from the University of California San Diego/California State University San Marcos.  He was also a Mentor Principal for the University of San Diego, a group leader for a class at Harvard Graduate School of Education and an Adjunct Professor at Alliant University.

Robert accomplished much in his educational career, and he touched many lives.  However, his greatest love was his family.  He always put family first and was happiest when he was with his children and new grandchild.

Robert passed away from brain cancer on November 4, 2021.  He requested that anyone wishing to donate in his memory make a donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.