Incumbents Melissa Baten Caswell and Camille Townsend won re-election in the race for Palo Alto Board of Education, with challenger Heidi Emberling, a parent educator, grabbing the third and final available spot.
Challenger Ken Dauber, a Google software engineer, trailed, failing to win enough votes to get a seat.
Semi-final results did not come in until past 3 a.m. -- long after a festive, "all-candidates" election night party at the Garden Court Hotel had adjourned.
Top vote-getter Caswell said she thinks the showing means "voters think the PAUSD schools are strong, we have done good work over the last five years and they want to keep the trajectory going."
Noting her business experience, she said, "I also think that we are tight financial times and the community wants to be assured that funds will be carefully spent."
Townsend, who sought a rare third term on the board, said, "voters are feeling the school district is in good hands and that they have confidence that we will continue to do a good job despite being thrown many issues along the way."
Emberling said she was "feeling honored to receive so many votes from the Palo Alto community."
Dauber congratulated the winners, adding he believes his showing of more than 10,000 votes still sends a message that people care that "student social emotional health, supporting the achievement of all students and implementing best practices across the district matter to them.
"This was always an underdog candidacy, but I ran to accomplish a number of goals, only one of which was winning," Dauber said.
"I wanted to ensure that there was an election, that it was issue-driven, that there were debates, and most important of all I wanted to create a serious community conversation about student social-emotional health and show that there is broad support in the community for making improvements there."
In the semi-final tally, Caswell led with 12,827, or 27.57 percent of the vote; Townsend was second, with 12,249, or 26.33 percent; Emberling followed with 11,182 or 24.03 percent and Dauber came in 916 votes behind with 10,266 or 22.07 percent.