Cecil Steppe

President & CEO of the Urban League San Diego County

Urban League San Diego County Website »

On June 27, 2001, Cecil H. Steppe began serving as the President and CEO of the Urban League of San Diego County and retired on October 2007.

On June 29, 1999, Cecil retired from the County after serving for 35 years. He served as the Director of Community Initiatives, Health and Human Services Agency. As Director he was responsible for the administration of Project Heartbeat; the Commission on Children, Youth and Families; the Office of Violence and Injury Prevention; the Family Home Visiting Partnership; and the Faith Community Coordinator. Mr. Steppe served as Director of the Department of Social Services from April 1992 through December 1997. As Director, he was responsible for the administration of the largest department in the County, with a budget of more than $900 million and a staff of 3,800.

Between 1980 and 1992, Cecil H. Steppe served as Chief Probation Officer for the County of San Diego. At that time, the San Diego County Probation Department operated with a budget in excess of $40 million with a staff of 1,038 persons.

Mr. Steppe was tapped for the position in Social services at a time of turmoil and harsh criticism of the department by the Grand Jury and other agencies. His exceptional leadership skills, recognized ability to handle difficult situations, and knack for building coalitions brought a calming influence and enabled the department to respond positively and effectively to this criticism.

Mr. Steppe’s success lies in an ability to combine his varied background and skills in working to meet the needs of youth and families. He has successfully blended an aggressive program that includes accountability and compassionate service delivery that allows people to believe in themselves. He has brought together County departments, schools, city agencies and private sector organizations to share in the responsibility of providing social and health services to families. A strong advocate for welfare reform, Mr. Steppe aggressively supports family centered practice, program integrity and the need to strengthen employment and training programs to move welfare recipients to self‐sufficiency.

Mr. Steppe’s dedication to his profession is underscored by his involvement not only within the San Diego community YMCA Corporate Board, Vista Hills Foundation, Policy Council on Head start, , previously served on the San Diego Justice Foundation, Armed Services YMCA Board, and Super Bowl Task Force. He holds membership in several professional organizations, including the, California Probation, Parole and Correctional Association, and the Rotary Club of San Diego.

His achievements have been recognized with numerous awards “San Diego Songs of My People: 100 African American Role Models.” He was selected by the San Diego Rotary Club as “Mr. San Diego, 2004”

Mr. Steppe received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from California Western University where he received a life time Community College Teaching Credential. He is married and has five grown children and 12 grandchildren and 6 Great Grand Children..

Since September 2005 Mr. Steppe has served as the Board Chair of the Gompers Preparatory Academy, a conversion charter school serving students from the 6th through the 12 grades. Gompers Preparatory Academy was one of the most violent schools in the district prior to becoming a conversion charter in partnership with the University of California San Diego. Currently enrolling over a 1000 students with 100% graduation for the classes of 2012 and 2013 with all graduates enrolled either in a university or community college of their choice. Those who work with Mr. Steppe find his positive attitude and sense of humor infectious. His personal and professional history embodies his belief in the value of working to make things better, and that “all things are possible.”