Degrees and Certifications:

Debra H. Groce

Thank you for taking the time to visit this site and find out more about me! 

I am a native of Durham and became familiar with Sanford during my college years as I drove to and from St. Andrews University, where I obtained an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a minor in Education. Later in life, I felt called to go back to school to become a teacher. I attended Campbell University, where I earned a Master of Education and my AIG state licensure. Before coming to Deep River, I taught fourth grade at J. R. Ingram.

I have been married for over 35 years to Van, a Sanford native, and we have two grown sons. In my spare time, I like to watch sports, especially football, with my family. I enjoy reading, making homemade bread, working in the yard, and relaxing at the beach.

Several years ago, I held a Brown Pelican, a bird I have enjoyed watching soar in the air and dive for food in the ocean for years. When presented with the opportunity to hold this magnificent bird, I was excited and nervous. Fear crept in, and I initially refused, but as I stood gazing at his beauty, I decided I might never have this opportunity again. I put out my arms and was soon holding the pelican! I couldn't believe what I was doing. He was calm while I experienced a wide range of emotions. It was an incredible experience I will never forget! 

I recently undertook a different adventure with my oldest son, Will. We both wanted to go skydiving and so, to celebrate our birthdays, we literally took a leap of faith by leaving the safety and security of an airplane and leaned into the wild blue yonder in tandem with an experienced skydiver. What felt like Arctic air smacked me in the face as I floated during the free-falling stage. I felt suspended in the air and was honestly relieved (I don't like to be cold) when an initial shoot was pulled that enabled me to be upright, warmer, and able to better see my surroundings. Over the next seven minutes, we floated to the ground, making turns while taking in the view. A feeling of peace and tranquility washed over me as I gazed at the beauty of the fall day. I landed with a bump (you hold up your legs and land on your bottom) but was quick to rise. Excitement, joy, and a sense of accomplishment filled my heart. 

Stepping outside our comfort zone and taking risks can be scary, but ultimately rewarding. I look forward to presenting students with engaging, exciting, and interesting tasks that test and expand their perseverance and grit.