(Find your School Board District here.)
There are a lot of candidates for School Board in District 6:
- Alex Diaz
- Dr. Maria Peiro
- Dr. Kitchka Petrova (vote for this one)
- Raquel Regalado
- Dr. Eduardo Zayas-Bazán
Raquel Regalado, 36, is a trademark and patents attorney with a law degree from St. Thomas in 2001. While I do think legal training is a good background for the school board, and it would be nice to have a younger member of the Board, it's hard to think of many legal specialties less relevant to the job. (Now, a real estate attorney or CPA….) Indeed, the candidate's resume generally seems rather light on relevant experience. The Herald endorsed Regalado as did the United Teachers of Dade, the teachers' union. (I would expect better from the Herald. Sadly, I don't expect better from the UTD.) The elephant in the room, however, is the identity of Regalado's father, a subject explored in the Miami New Times's With No Experience and Lots of Cash, Miami Mayor's Daughter Raquel Regalado Runs For School Board.
Dr. Zayas-Bazán, 74, a Professor Emeritus in Foreign Languages at East Tennessee State University, is the candidate who has raised the most money after Raquel Regalado although she has out-raised him by about 3:1. He was the subject of an extensive and largely sympathetic New Times profile in 2008 relating to his participation as a frogman in the Bay of Pigs invasion.
Based on their answers to this questionnaire, particularly their support of student-led group prayer in the public schools and their pandering willingness to endorse a blanket ban on government funds to any agency or organization that offers abortions — even for activities that have nothing to do with abortion — despite this issue's irrelevance to the School Board race, I am opposed to Dr. Maria Peiro, Dr. Eduardo Zayas-Bazán and Raquel Regalado.
That leaves Alex Diaz and Dr. Kitchka Petrova. Mr. Diaz was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, and has relevant work experience with nonprofits, youth groups and in education. He sounds like the kind of person who belongs on the School Board. But.
As it happens, I know Dr. Petrova because she taught science to one of my sons in Ponce Middle School's IB program. She is an intelligent and kind person, and an excellent teacher. It would be amazing to have her on the school board (even if she has the lamest website of any of the candidates; here's a link to a scan of the inside of the Petrova campaign brochure).
Dr. Petrova has won some unusual awards, notably an Einstein Fellowship. Dr. Petrova is a member of the National Science Teachers Association. She also serves as a member of the Educator Advisory Board of Florida Agriculture in The Classroom, Inc and the Judging Panel of Toyota/TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers. (I've even run into her in the Coral Gables library as Dr. Petrova was poring over the applications; she takes this seriously!) In 2008 she was awarded a White-Reinhardt Educator Scholarship by the American Farm Bureau. In 2007, Dr. Petrova received the Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award for the state of Florida; and the 2007 National Award for Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture.
Dr. Petrova holds a Master's degree in Biology/Microbiology from Sofia University “St.Kliment Ohrdiski” (Bulgaria) and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from Moscow University “M.V.Lomonossov” (Russia). She is not your usual Miami candidate. And honestly, I suppose she doesn't really stand a chance. But even so…
I am voting for Dr. Kitchka Petrova for School Board District 6 and I urge you to do so too. I've even sent her a contribution. Zayas-Bazán (over $47,000) and Regalado (over $130,000) are the candidates with the big bucks in this race, so Dr. Petrova is the longest of long shots. Even so, it would be great if she won.