The fourth and losing candidate, Google software engineer Ken Dauber, said that despite the loss, he had accomplished several of his goals including ensuring a competitive election and "a serious community conversation about student social-emotional health."
Dauber called the 11,050 votes he received a "strong showing, given that I was running against two incumbents and another candidate who had been in the race for months with strong backing from many political figures, and that I ran into a very strong negative campaign."
Emberling, who works part time at Parents Place, an organization of Jewish Family & Children's Services, replaces lawyer and math educator Barbara Klausner, who announced in July she would not seek a second term.
She views herself as a consensus builder and, unlike Dauber, did not take strong critical positions during the campaign.
A former PTA president at Juana Briones Elementary School, Emberling began attending school board meetings on a regular basis two years ago after fellow parents asked her about the controversy over the elementary math textbook Everyday Mathematics.
"I'm excited to continue my work for our schools in my new capacity as school board member," she said Thursday, Nov. 8.
"I'm glad to provide an educator's perspective as we discuss policies that affect all students. I'm also looking forward to talking with principals, teachers and administrators about their experiences working in our district, their thoughts and ideas for innovation in our schools and how the board can best support those efforts."
Tuesday, Nov. 13, will be Klausner's final board meeting, and she will be honored with a pre-meeting cake-and-punch reception that's open to the public at school district headquarters.
Emberling will begin her term at the Dec. 4 meeting.
In Tuesday's election results, Caswell led the field, winning 13,719, or 49.6 percent of the ballots cast. She was followed by Townsend, with 13,095, or 47.4 percent. Emberling was third with 11,878, or 43 percent. Dauber trailed Emberling by 828 votes, winning 40 percent.
The campaign was hard-fought, and Dauber, despite winning endorsements from a number of current and former elected officials, was viewed as a polarizing figure by others.
At the heart of Dauber's campaign were members of a group he co-founded last year, We Can Do Better Palo Alto.
Group members said this week they plan to carry on despite the election loss.
"This was never about getting somebody elected. It's always been about the message," said We Can Do Better member Wynn Hausser. "Running somebody was a tactic, not a goal.
"We want to keep social-emotional health and stress levels of students front and center in discussions, to push for transparency in how the district operates and be a positive force in the community for changes where they need to happen," Hausser said.
In particular, Hausser said, the group will focus on measuring progress on new high school graduation requirements, equity in counseling services between the two high schools, and discussions on the future of Cubberley Community Center. The group also will push for quick district-wide adoption of the software tool Schoology, through which teachers can post and monitor student workloads and communicate with families.