Featured Director - Bruce Griner

The DoD STARBASE Florida academy was started and established in the Jacksonville, FL area in 1994. The Department of Defense hands-on educational program is held at the 125th Fighter Wing located at the Florida Air National Guard base adjacent to the Jacksonville International Airport. The academy partners and services the Duval County Public School(DCPS) district. The Academy plans to serve 16 schools and over 1,400 fifth grade students in the current 2018-19 school year. The academy also teams up with the local military and civilian volunteers located on 125th Fighter Wing to provide mentorship and demonstrations to the students for a more hands-on and direct experience. STARBASE Florida is also grateful to be supported by its Not-For-Profit organization, STARBASE Florida, Inc. They have supported and funded the development of an Outreach Initiative program as well as allowed an avenue for future advance met of the , which assists those elementary schools in building their own STEM enrichment programs and labs, supported by Georgia National Guard volunteers and consultations with STARBASE staff instructors.

My name is Bruce Allen Griner Jr, and I started my career with DoD STARBASE Florida in September 2018. After completing the initial evaluation process of the current program, I sustained a two-classroom academy with a 5-day consecutive day rotation. I inherited an amazing staff of three enthusiastic employees (Karen Strandberg, Lee McCook, and Mario Marchan) who truly enjoys what they contribute to the program each day, and I recently added two more staff members to solidify the STARBASE Florida family. They are all very driven and passionate about the program, and providing a more innovative and stimulating STEM curriculum to the students of the DCPS community.

I was raised in a small town called Pier Station, Fl. As the fourth child in a family of 9 siblings, I graduated from Clay High School in Green Cove Springs, FL. Greatly influenced by my mom and extended family(uncles/aunts), I enrolled into ITT Technical Institute where I received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Electronic Engineering Technology. I later went back and received an MBA from the University of Phoenix. I started my career as an Electrical Engineer for various DoD contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman for over 12 years, where I repaired, tested, and designed electromagnetic aviation assemblies for various military aircrafts such as F-15, C-130, EA-6B, and E-2C. I switched careers and became a secondary Business Education and Math teacher for 5 years, where I also spent over 3 years as a STEM and Outreach director for Bright Minds Youth Development over the summer. Just before coming to DoD STARBASE Florida, I served temporarily as the Behavioral Resource teacher (BRT) for Bradford County School District, where I learned how to properly adapt my various skillsets to cater to the diverse needs of today’s youth challenges. Leading to this current Director position, my entire career timeline has purposely and carefully been aligned for me to be properly equipped and prepared to advance this position to bigger and higher heights. So, with the many challenges and rollercoaster obstacles that consistently target this program daily, I’m super excited and blessed to be a part of a program where my staff and I can both directly and indirectly support the educational fight for excellence in the DCPS community.

I have two amazing children, Tre and Jaida, whom keep me very busy with their many extra-curricular activities throughout the year. When I’m not working, I truly enjoy spending time with family and friends, singing, going to church, coaching youth sports, playing basketball, and learning new hobbies that keep my mind stimulated.

Posted January 2019

Bruce Griner