"I have a heart to serve. When I saw the three open board positions, I knew that this was the time and place for me," said Kristina Mazaika, a candidate for Livermore school board.
Mazaika is an educator who currently works as the director of growth and development at The Quarry Lane School in Dublin. In her professional role, she said she coaches teachers, provides professional development to junior kindergarten through 12th grade teachers and leads parent education trainings, among other things.
"Basically, I’ve worked in education all my adult life and have a lot of knowledge and experience to share and leverage for the benefit of Livermore students," she told Livermore Vine in a statement.
Mazaika is one of six new challengers looking to unseat the three school board incumbents whose at-large terms are expiring this year.
Board President Craig Bueno, Clerk Emily Prusso and Trustee Anne White are all seeking re-election in hopes of securing another four years on the board.
The other five newcomers are associate professor Steven Drouin, student and community organizer Hayden Sidun, retired legal businessman John Kupski, doctor and businesswoman Deena Kaplanis and community member and mother Alex Izarraraz.
Mazaika and her family moved to Livermore from Southern California in 2017 due to a job change. She has two grown children -- one who has already graduated from college and one who is a sophomore at Virginia Tech.
"I bring a balanced perspective seeing issues from both sides -- as an insider (educator and parent) as well as an outsider (as a community member). I believe in teaching the whole child. Social and emotional learning is the crucial starting point," she said.
She continued, "Learning how to effectively communicate and how to handle big emotions precede the important work of teaching and learning that teachers and students do. I believe that strong classroom relationships in schools where teachers feel a strong sense of community themselves are vital in helping our students thrive in the school system and beyond. From this strong relational foundation, academic rigor and equal access to the curriculum emerge where students are challenged and learn the necessary content and skills to critically think and problem solve."
Mazaika grew up bicoastally between Los Angeles and New York City. Her family relocated to San Diego after she graduated from high school, which is where she lived the longest. She graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and received a Master of Arts in curriculum development from University of California, San Diego.
"I was a proud member of the Poway Unified School District for 15 years where I taught elementary school, '' Mazaika said. "Since that magical time, I’ve worked as a reading interventionist, instructional coach to teachers, elementary school principal, taught graduate level courses to teachers, and acted as a senior editor for an educational publishing company."
Citing her experience and passion for service as driving forces behind her campaign, Mazaika said, "I believe that teachers, parents, and leaders working together is the secret sauce that will bring our students the best we all have to offer."
Mazaika does not have a campaign website at this time.