Board of Advisors

The Board of Advisors (BOA) is comprised of professionals who are accomplished in their respective fields and are passionate about BEST’s mission. They serve two-year terms as organizational advisors and supporters. In order to be part of this prestigious group, one must be nominated and selected by the BEST Board of Directors.

2016-2017 Board of Advisors:

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Angela Rodel

Angela Rodel came to Bulgaria on a Fulbright grant in 1996, lured by the mystery of Bulgarian voices. Having fallen in love with Bulgarian folk singing and Bulgarian language, she decided to make Bulgaria her permanent home as of 2004. In recent years, she has become a leading translator of Bulgarian literature into English, with seven novels published in the US and UK, as well as plays, poems and essays by leading Bulgarian writers. She is now executive director of the Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission. At her first BEST tournament two years ago, she was blown away by the students’ talent, intelligence and artistry – and immensely proud of the Fulbright/ABF ETAs who founded this wonderful organization.


Lynnette Leonard

Lynnette Leonard competed in speech and debate in high school, which led her to choose a career in communication. Lynnette has judged competitive speaking events at both high school and college tournaments in the USA. She is currently department chair and Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at American University in Bulgaria. She has been a judge for BEST Foundation events since the first annual tournament. Lynnette credits her experience in speech and debate for her academic and professional success.


Mark Leonard

Mark Leonard was born and raised in Kansas, where he competed in speech and debate in high school and in speech in college. Since then, he has judged competitive speaking events at both high school and college tournaments in the USA. He has been a judge for BEST Foundation events since the first annual tournament. Mark is Assistant Professor of Economics at American University in Bulgaria. Mark makes daily use of his prose and poetry competition skills while reading to his daughters.