Get to know Pacific Beach Elementary Principal Jennifer Grondek

Pacific Beach Elementary fifth graders with their principal.
Pacific Beach Elementary fifth graders with their principal. In front, Talia Micolino, Jake Spencer, Olivia Spencer and Sienna Natividad. In back Beckett Phelps and Principal Jennifer Grondek.
(Cyril Reinicke)

Jennifer Grondek is in her third year as principal of Pacific Beach Elementary School.

Born in New York, Grondek had the opportunity to attend schools in several states, including Michigan, Illinois and Virginia. She has lived in San Diego for more than 20 years now.

“I cannot imagine living anywhere else,” Grondek said.

She is married to a scientist working at UC San Diego and has a fifth-grade son.

“As a family we enjoy traveling together within the United States and around the world,” Grondek said. “Our favorite San Diego activities include hiking, camping, the ocean and taking care of our pets. We have a dog, two cats and a crested gecko.”

“We believe that all students are naturally curious. Learning in all other disciplines is enhanced when viewed through a scientific lens.”

— Jennifer Grondek, Pacific Beach Elementary principal

As a child, Grondek enjoyed reading, playing outdoors and just learning new things, she said. Grondek added that she always loved the poetry written by Shel Silverstein and remembers reading all of Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew books. In sixth grade she was her elementary school’s spelling bee champion.

In high school she was active in various clubs and organizations, played field hockey and participated in many volunteer activities.

“Each year, along with my friends, we coordinated food drives to feed those with need in our community,” Grondek said.

She also played the viola in high school, community and regional orchestras.

Grondek earned her bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Geneseo and her master’s degree from National University.

Before Pacific Beach Elementary Grondek was assigned to campuses in the Cajon Valley and Mountain Empire school districts.

When asked about her soon to be three years at PB Elementary a wide smile crossed her face.

Fun facts about Jennifer Grondek

1) As a child, she attended a weeklong Space Camp experience in Huntsville, Alabama. One of her favorite experiences was assembling structures under water as part of the camp activities.

2) In sixth grade she won her championship spelling bee while on live TV.

3) She is an accomplished musician. Grondek has played the viola in regional orchestras and sat as first chair, a position of distinction that usually goes to a highly competent player.

“I am so very fortunate to be the principal of PBE,” she said. “Our school is the kindest school in the world. This is in large part to our amazing students, their supportive families and our expert and caring educators.”

She added, “At PB Elementary we are fortunate to have an active and engaged family community who provide tremendous support for our school. Our school community also enjoys and supports events sponsored by our foundation, The Friends of Pacific Beach Elementary.”

Grondek said she is proud to work with such a talented group of educators who are experts in their practice, and who always remain focused on ensuring that each individual receives just exactly what they need to maximize their personal growth and development.

“I want our students and staff to take risks and seek opportunities to be inquisitive problem solvers, empathetic leaders and positive change agents,” Grondek said.

When asked why she loves being a principal she quickly said, “I love the opportunity to make the world a better place. I enjoy the opportunity to do this each day to support children, families and our school educators.”