Dr. Maria Peiro is a unique candidate. She is neither a career politician nor part of the elite political class. Rather, her career as an educator and experiences as a former small business owner led her to become engaged in activism and politics. She is an outsider who will take her unique life experiences, her understanding of the average American citizen, and her deep love for America to Washington, D.C. and work in favor of policies that put America and its people first.
Maria has a solid background in the field of education. She is a veteran educator of 22 years in Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS). She is highly dedicated and has earned the praise, admiration, and respect of parents, colleagues and administrators for her tireless contribution to her students and her professional field. Throughout her career, she has been successful in improving her students’ academic achievement as evidenced by state exams. She is consistently evaluated as a highly effective teacher under the school district’s high-stakes evaluation system.
In M-DCPS, Maria has worked successfully with students at all educational levels and from different backgrounds including At-risk, Gifted, Limited English Proficient, Special Education, and Multicultural students. She has taught in different types of communities such as in the inner-city with predominantly African- American students, in affluent neighborhoods, in areas with students from numerous parts of the world, and in low-socioeconomic neighborhoods with predominantly Hispanic students. Having taught in such diverse communities has afforded Maria the experience of being able to work towards common goals with community members from all walks of life.
During her career, besides having earned a Ph.D. in Mathematics and Science Education, Maria was one of few educators in Miami-Dade to first become a National Board Certified teacher. This is the highest and most prestigious professional certificate awarded to educators in the nation. She was also appointed as member of the school district’s Early Childhood Task Force where she served for two years and helped develop the implementation criteria for the state’s Voluntary PreK Program. Furthermore, Maria has served as a member of her school’s Educational Excellence School Advisory Council (EESAC) for four and a half years. As a member elected by her colleagues to the EESAC, she has served in the capacity of Chairperson, Co-Chairperson, Parliamentarian, and Treasurer. On the EESAC, she has worked on creating the yearly School Improvement Plan, determining how to utilize state funds provided for school improvement, and advising the school principal on the school’s budget.
Maria has taught graduate students as an Adjunct Professor at Barry University and has taught and advised Ph.D. students as an Associate Professor for Curtin University of Technology. She has worked in academia as an educational researcher, author, and presenter at national and international forums. Her research work has been published in a book and international research journal.
The same commitment, hard work, and dedication that Maria has given to her profession in the past 22 years, she will apply them to her job as Congresswoman for District 27, if elected. Her strong work ethic is obvious in everything she sets her mind to do. Furthermore, her extensive real-life experience in the field of education, specifically in Grades K-12 classrooms, will definitely be an asset in the U.S. House of Representatives, when it comes to educational policy.
Former Small Business Owner
Maria is the former owner of a small business that provided educational and statistical services for Ph.D. students. As such, she observed how businesses have to navigate through too many government regulations and a convoluted tax code. In Congress, she will utilize her past experience as a small business owner to support a pro-growth agenda that cuts burdensome and unnecessary government regulations and lowers taxes for businesses. She understands that in order for businesses to grow and for investors to invest, government must create an environment that is conducive to it, and then stay out of the way.
Maria has been a grassroots activist for over a decade. Her career in education is what first led her down this path. Being an educator in one of the largest public school systems in the nation, she observed first-hand the waste of tax payer dollars and burdensome bureaucracy. Her early years of activism were dedicated to fighting against money waste and bureaucracy in the district’s public school system and encouraging a more efficient way to use tax payer dollars by ensuring it would be used directly in the areas that help improve students’ education the most. Maria has also fought against tax increases and has spoken in opposition of them at local board meetings.
As a grassroots activist, Maria has also opposed federally-driven educational initiatives such as Common Core. She has spoken against it at public meetings and radio programs. She has led rallies against Common Core and was part of a grassroots effort that successfully led the Republican Executive Committee of Miami-Dade to formally adopt a resolution opposing Common Core.
Maria has also worked with grassroots activists from around the nation to oppose illegal immigration, fight against amnesty for illegal aliens, and secure the borders. She worked for months to stop the Gang of Eight bill from passing Congress, which would have given amnesty to more than 11 million illegal aliens and lowered wages for American workers, if it had passed. In 2013, she was chosen as the Miami-Dade coordinator for the “D.C. March for Jobs”. The march took place in Washington, D.C. and was attended by U.S. Senators and Representatives as well as Americans from all around the nation with the goal of opposing the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill, stopping amnesty, and supporting American workers. Maria was also one of the leaders of a group of grassroots activists that coordinated the “National Day of Protesting against Immigration Reform, Amnesty, and Border Surge” event, which consisted of two days of peaceful nationwide protests against illegal immigration and in support of border security.
Although Maria has never held any official political office, she has been an elected Committeewoman for District 21 of the Republican Executive Committee (REC) of Miami-Dade since 2012. As a member of the Miami-Dade REC, she has served on the Veteran’s Subcommittee, which consists of a grassroots volunteer group that collects household items and clothes for U.S. Veterans transitioning from homeless shelters to permanent homes.
Maria was a grassroots supporter of Donald J. Trump’s campaign for President of the United States. She promoted him publicly on radio, television, and social media. She volunteered by walking door to door and phone banking to get him elected. She also promoted his Make America Great Again and America First agenda, which she continues to strongly support.
Maria was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba where she lived under Castro’s communist regime until she and her family came to the U.S. as exiles. She experienced and witnessed firsthand the regime’s human rights abuses and oppression. Maria’s father was a political prisoner in Cuba during her childhood. He was arrested when she was about a year old and was sentenced under antirevolutionary charges. Because her father was a political prisoner, Maria and her family suffered extra scrutiny and abuses from the part of the regime. The family was always under the very watchful eye of the communist state. Maria remembers vividly the harsh experience of the visits to her father in prison where political prisoners suffered tortures and were denied basic human rights. Maria wholeheartedly feels that the most precious gift she received from the U.S. was her freedom, and she will forever be indebted to our great nation for that. She is extremely proud to be an American! Running for U.S. Congress to serve the American people and to help safeguard the principles that made the U.S. great is but one way to give back to the nation that gave her everything she enjoys today.
Maria’s childhood experiences in Cuba allowed her to come to recognize the absolute failure of an anti-capitalist, anti-free market economic system. Having lived in a country where virtually everything was run by the government has shaped Maria’s strong belief that the government should play a very limited role in the lives of the people and that the best economic system is one in which competition is allowed to thrive and there is limited government intervention. She will take those beliefs to Congress and use them as guiding principles when shaping policy.
At the age of eight, Maria came legally with her parents and younger sister to the U.S. and joined the Cuban exile community in Miami, Florida. Although her family members had served as their financial sponsors, Maria’s parents began working immediately upon their arrival. Her father worked day and night at two minimum wage jobs, and her mother worked long hours in a factory while they both went to school to learn English. During their first years in the U.S., on weekends, the whole family would go to Homestead, Florida to pick tomatoes and earn extra money to make ends meet. She grew up poor but with a great sense of work ethic and self-reliance. Her father, after years of studying English and completing his studies became a blue-collar worker as an electrician and was able to provide a better quality of life for the family. It was a very modest lifestyle but one that was greatly appreciated because it was being lived in freedom.
Hard work and dedication is what helped Maria rise out of poverty. While raising her first daughter and working full-time in a minimum-wage job to support her family, Maria attended Miami-Dade Community College where she made the Dean’s List and graduated with an Associate in Arts Degree in Elementary Education in 1992. After that, she attended Florida International University (FIU) while she continued working full-time and raising her daughter who was a toddler by then. Often times, Maria attended classes at FIU with her daughter by her side because she could not afford a babysitter. She would sit at the back of the class and juggle between keeping her daughter entertained and quiet, listening to the professors, and taking notes. She would go home and study late into the night while still taking care of her family. With just a few hours of sleep, she would get up for work the next day and study all through her breaks and lunch. She was not about to let anything stop her from reaching her educational goal. In 1994, she graduated from FIU with a Bachelor’s in Science Degree in Elementary Education and a Minor in Early Childhood.
In 1995, soon after graduating from FIU, Maria began teaching full-time for Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS). Her second child was born in 1995 as well. In 1998, Maria was selected by the school district as part of a cadre of distinguished educators to study in a specialized Master’s Degree program at FIU. While still working as a full-time teacher for M-DCPS, Maria attended the FIU program. In 2000, she earned a Master’s Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from FIU. After that, she worked as an Adjunct Professor at Barry University where she taught Linguistics to graduate students completing their Master’s Degree.
By 2005, Maria had earned a Ph.D. in Science and Mathematics Education from Curtin University in Australia. She completed her Ph.D. coursework, research, and thesis in just three years, something never seen before by her professors. She earned the admiration of her Major Professor through her avid research skills, ability to communicate, hard work, and dedication. Her Major Professor who was a well-known researcher and author internationally, as well as the Director of the Science and Mathematics Education Center at Curtin University, officially appointed her as the University Associate to Ph.D. students in a long-distance program. In her capacity as University Associate, she taught a Ph.D. level course and advised doctoral students throughout the completion of their thesis. Maria was also recruited as a researcher, author, and presenter. She authored and co-authored educational research articles and a book chapter, which were published. She presented her research work at national and international forums.
Maria was previously married. However, she has been a single mom for about 11 years. She has raised two daughters, Stephanie and Tiffany. Stephanie, the oldest, works full-time and attends college. She is currently working on a degree in nursing. Maria is very proud of Stephanie and refers to her as an independent, strong, and hard working young woman. Maria’s youngest daughter, Tiffany, is completing her last year in a specialized educational center where she is a special needs student. Tiffany was born with a very rare genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome. Although she has a severe intellectual disability, she continues to slowly improve and learn new things. Maria describes her as an extremely happy and social young lady who brightens up anybody’s day. She says Tiffany is her gift from God who has shown her patience and unconditional love.
Numbers USA, “True Reformer” Rating (Highest rating possible for a first time candidate)
National Rifle Association “A” Rating (Highest rating possible for a first time candidate)