EDITOR'S NOTE: The results in this election have shifted as more ballots have been counted. View the latest on this race here.
With all precincts reporting by Wednesday morning, incumbent Ana Maria Pulido and newcomers Stephanie Fitch and Laura Nunez had won three open seats on the Ravenswood City School District Board of Education.
Pulido, the current school board president, secured re-election with 16.1 percent of the vote, or 830 votes. Now a spokesperson for the Sequoia Union High School District, Pulido was first elected to the Ravenswood board in 2010 and has pointed to changes and initiatives over the last four years, including a new standalone middle school and targeted investment in STEAM education, among others, as evidence of a district on the rise.
The two challengers in second and third place -- Fitch, a nonprofit curriculum manager for Summit Public Schools in Redwood City, and Nunez, who teaches at public charter school East Palo Alto Academy, were separated by only 16 votes as of midnight. By Wednesday morning, Fitch pulled ahead with 740 votes to Nunez's 714.
San Mateo County does not have automatic recounts. Elections code states that within five days following the certification of the election, any registered voter can file a written request for recount in any race.
During the campaign, Fitch promised if elected to focus on building "two-way communication" between the school board and community, improving teacher retention and encouraging data-driven, student-focused decision making.
Nunez emphasized similar issues in her campaign, and promised to pursue "immediate solutions that result in increased budget and resources that will help diminish the achievement gap."
Nunez ran on a slate with Tamara Sobomehin, who works at youth technology nonprofit StreetCode Academy, called "Recharge Ravenswood." Sobomehin was not far behind her campaign partner, with 640 votes, or 11.63 percent of the vote, by Wednesday morning.
The three winning candidates did not return requests for comment.
The other two incumbents lost their bids for re-election. Charlie Knight, a former Ravenswood superintendent, received 531 votes, or 9.4 percent, by Wednesday morning. Marcelino Lopez won 8.3 percent of voters, or 467 votes.
Knight and Lopez did not respond to requests for comment.
The incumbents and newcomers ran on contrasting images of the K-8 school district. The sitting board members presented a district on an upward, positive trajectory toward much-needed reform and academic improvement, while the challengers criticized the current leadership for a lack of transparency and a disconnect with the community.
It was a crowded race with at first 10 candidates, before Maria Victoria Chavez withdrew to avoid splitting votes and to "ensure that there is a change in leadership at the school district level." Chavez still earned 8.8 percent of the votes, followed by special-education administrator Brooke Crosby, paraeducator Julian Garcia and Nicole Sbragia, a paraeducator and Ravenswood parent.
The next four years will be critical for Ravenswood as the district grapples with declining enrollment and funding and the superintendent seeks to rebuild trust with teachers and community members who opposed the renewal of her contract this spring.
Pulido, Fitch and Nunez will join trustees Marielena Gaona Mendoza and Sharifa Wilson at the dais.
Though these results are considered a semi-official final report, ballot counting continues: Vote-by-mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day that are received by county elections officials by Nov. 9 will be counted, the San Mateo County Elections Office states on its website.
Election results will be certified by Dec. 6, 2018.