Last August, the Regis F. Groff Campus, home of STRIVE Prep – RISE, was formally named for the education pioneer. But, the Groff family has much longer and rich history in education than that.
Peter Groff, STRIVE Prep Board Member and son of Regis, answered questions about his family and their passion for quality education, and why he’s proud to see his father’s name on a STRIVE Prep school.
What is the Groff family background in education, specifically in Denver?
Our family’s involvement in education is incredibly rich. My father, Regis Groff, taught in DPS, at East, then Lake and Smiley junior high schools, for over 30 years and spent another decade working in DPS administration at the old 900 Grant St. building. My father also taught at University of Denver, Colorado State University and Metro State University. During the bulk of his teaching time he was also was serving in the Colorado Senate. My mother, Ada Groff, also worked in education, during the mid-1970’s she worked at Manual High School. My sister and I caught the education bug as well; I taught public policy at University of Denver for almost 15 years and my sister, Traci Jones, currently teaches in a creative writing seminar at Regis University.
Why is providing quality education so important to your family?
My family understands that education is the one thing that consistently and permanently changes the trajectory of someone’s life. My parents grow up in western Illinois in a rural non-farm community where the only way you could move on from that community was to pursue an education or military service. My father did both, but he often talked about how education took him from Monmouth, Illinois to all over the United States, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The trajectory of the success of our family is fueled by the quality education we received from public schools. We have personally seen the impact that a quality public education can have, we know that a quality public education will close many of the inequities America’s faces and know that we have a responsibility to ensure all our young people have access a high quality public education.
What does it mean to you to have your father’s name on two of the top ranked high schools in Denver?
There was nothing more important to my father than education and the teaching of young people. To have his name on the campus that houses the top ranked high schools in the city that he carved a legacy of fighting for every student, especially African American and Latinx students is indescribable.
How did your views on education impact your decision to join STRIVE Prep’s Board of Trustees?
During my time in the legislature and the Obama administration I fought for the expansion of high quality public schools because my father taught me about the transformative nature and power of education but since I left active politics I have missed the opportunity to help shape innovative and high quality public school options that can serve all our students and serving on the STRIVE Prep board will allow me to help some of the best public schools in the country and my home city and state get better.
What else would you like to share about your experience with STRIVE Prep?
I have had the chance to travel across the country visiting every type of public school, in all types of situations, serving all types of students and STRIVE Prep, with it’s excellent leaders and visionary management, are among the best schools in country. The preparation of our young people for the challenges and opportunities that they face is the most important job of every generation and no school is doing it better in this era than STRIVE Prep schools.