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Trustee Spotlight: Raul Jacinto Valdes-Fauli

Trustee Spotlight

Raul Jacinto Valdes-Fauli 

Raul Jacinto Valdes-Fauli is in his first year on the Northwood School Board. He attended Tulane University and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1968 and then began his professional career as a tax attorney for Standard Oil. Since 1971, after establishing his own firm, he has been practicing in the Miami/Coral Gables area serving the U.S. and international clients. In 1993 he was elected the first Hispanic mayor of Coral Gables and served four terms until 2001 and two more terms from 2017-2021.  He has been extensively involved in civic, philanthropic, and community organizations, including the Dante Alighieri Society, the Centro Cultural Espanol, the Coral Gables Museum, and the Miami Symphony Orchestra. 

Raul attended Northwood for two years before having to leave after Castro’s coup d’état in Cuba and the “forbidding of the purchase of Dollars by Cubans.” He feels the school was a deciding step in his education. He joined the Board out of gratitude for the experience that Northwood gave him, exposure to a new culture, and a new manner of thinking. He sees Northwood’s strengths as its collegiality as well as the excellence of its education and athletics. He recalls the Northwood football team going undefeated in a strong league, an unforgettable experience. (Editor’s note: Northwood had American football until 1977.)   He says that the biggest impact on his life was becoming aware of other cultures, including his time in Lake Placid and a year spent studying in Paris. His advice to Northwood students is, “Be curious and willing to explore new experiences. The world is a rich world with many opportunities, and we should take a jump and try new things.” 

Raul is married to Francia Quijada from Caracas, Venezuela; they have six children and fifteen grandchildren. The eldest of the latter group is twenty and attends Smith College; the youngest, six, goes to first grade in Coral Gables.  When not working, Raul grows orchids and has published a book on orchids. He has been involved in Spanish cultural affairs, having founded the Spain-U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the Southeastern United States and served as its president for many years.