SAN LEANDRO -- The school board saw its share of turmoil over the past year, with it and the San Leandro Teachers Association butting heads with former Superintendent Christine Lim.

Lim had strong support from some parents, especially those with low-income, minority and recent immigrant backgrounds, but her leadership style rubbed many teachers the wrong way.

The board voted to terminate Lim in December, six months before her contract was to expire, and she was replaced by Cindy Cathey, who had served under Lim as an assistant superintendent.

Since Lim's departure, relations between teachers and the administration have improved, yet the district still suffers from low academic test scores, with its schools ranking near the bottom in Alameda County.

An "achievement gap" remains a concern, with Latino and African-American students having lower test scores than whites and Asian-Americans.

In brighter news, the district recently opened the state-of-the-art Fred T. Korematsu Campus for freshmen with funding from Measure B, a $109 million school facilities bond that voters approved in 2006. The bond also is paying for the Arts Education Center, a 550-seat theater at the high school, expected to open in 2011.

The board is hoping that city residents also will pass Measure M on Nov. 2. It's a $50 million school sports facility bond that would pay for a sports complex at Burrell Field, a new swimming pool at the high school and other improvements if passed by 55 percent of the city's voters.

Board President Mike Katz-Lacabe is seeking re-election in Trustee Area 4, but will have to get past his challenger, Latrina Dumas, a parent who has been a frequent critic of Katz-Lacabe and the rest of the board at its meetings.

In Trustee Area 2, Hayward teacher Lance James is taking on private language school owner Victoria Wang for Trustee Pauline Cutter's seat. Cutter is running for City Council.

Area 6 Trustee Lisa Hague is not seeking re-election, but no one filed election papers for her seat. Following the election, board members will have 60 days to fill the seat, either through a special election or a direct appointment.

Here are brief profiles of the candidates:

Mike Katz-Lacabe

Katz-Lacabe, who has two daughters in district schools, was elected to the board four years ago and has served as its president for the last two years.

He has lived in San Leandro since 2000 and runs a blog, www.sanleandrobytes.com, that keeps track of the San Leandro community, but which avoids school issues and advertising. He was a founding member of the San Leandro Community Action Network, a local political action group that seeks to influence the city's direction, and he also has been a computer tutor at the San Leandro Public Library and a mentor.

He said during a Sept. 30 candidates forum that relations between the administration staff and the teachers union have improved since Cathey replaced Lim, and that there is better morale now in the district. He said he is proud to serve as president of the board.

"I have a great deal of experience and I've demonstrated leadership on the school board," he said during the forum.

Latrina Dumas

Dumas did not appear at the forum, but she said she had good reason. She already had committed to attending a Congregations Organizing for Renewal meeting about youth violence.

Dumas has been a critic of the school board, often speaking out at meetings and demanding more transparency and outreach to parents.

She is a mother of three who has lived in San Leandro for 17 years.

"I will advocate and address the concerns of all students, parents, certificated and classified staff, labor and trades, and community members," she said. "I am the voice of all stakeholders. Recognizing the need to represent all voices based on everyday discussions with all stakeholders has inspired me to run for San Leandro school board trustee to reach out and take action for the under represented voices in our community."

Victoria Wang

An immigrant from China who speaks English as a second language, Wang said she would like to see Mandarin Chinese and other languages taught in San Leandro schools.

Wang said she opened her own Mandarin school in town and has teaching experience.

She is a 16-year resident of San Leandro and mother of four children, two of whom have attended San Leandro schools. Her youngest daughter is an eighth-grader at Bancroft Middle School.

She said her major concern is the district's low Academic Performance Index scores.

"I will use my teaching background and firsthand knowledge of bilingual education to improve the API and test scores," she said. "I will collaborate with district, teachers and parents to bring all students up (to) ... their potential. I will work to make sure all our diverse needs and requirements are met so our students can achieve."

Because she is self-employed, she said her schedule is flexible and she will have time to visit district schools and devote herself to the board.

Lance James

James is a teacher in the Hayward school district and a 12-year resident of San Leandro.

He has a 15-year-old daughter who is a foreign exchange student in Stuttgart, Germany, and a 13-year-old son who is an eighth-grader at Bancroft Middle School.

"Budgets today are forcing districts and educators to make drastic cuts to education," he said. "I will keep those cuts as far from the classroom as possible. Collaboration and consensus-building are key to working together in these hard times. As a classroom teacher, I know how to build cooperative groups.

"Meeting state and federal mandates leaves education looking at test scores and not always at our students. I bring a student voice to the board. "... As a teacher and a parent who spent years volunteering in classrooms, I know the difficulties facing our children and I want to help make sure they have safe and supportive learning environments, and that the needs of all of our students are addressed."

San Leandro school board

Mike Katz-Lacabe
Age: 43
Occupation: Computer security consultant
City of residence: San Leandro resident, 10 years
Education: UC Berkeley, environmental science major
Elected positions held: San Leandro Unified School District trustee, 2006 to present
Other experience: Computer tutor at the San Leandro Public Library, chairman of the communications committee, serves on the finance and advocacy committees.
Party affiliation: Democrat

Latrina Dumas
Age: 41
Occupation: Consultant
City of residence: San Leandro, 17 years
Education: Certificates in customer service, medical billing and coding, medical terminology, workers' compensation, early childhood development and administration of justice course work at Chabot College; mediation training.
Elected positions held: None
Other experience: Housing specialist counselor, medical receptionist, call center supervisor, client services consultant/representative, parent advisory boards, special education workshops, organizing and lobbying in Sacramento with COR (Congregation Organizing for Renewal), SACREA (Southern Alameda County Regional Educational Alliance).
Party affiliation: Democrat

Victoria Wang
Age: 44
Occupation: Teacher and owner of private school
City of residence: San Leandro, 18 years
Education: Master's degree in law from China and master's degree in education from Biola University.
Elected positions held: None
Other experience: Principal of Berkeley Institute of Language and Culture; president of Confucius Institute; director of Host Family Program, international student coordinator.
Party affiliation: None

Lance James
Age: 55
Occupation: Public schoolteacher
City of residence: San Leandro, 12 years
Education: A.A. in liberal studies from Chabot College; B.A. in liberal studies and teaching credential from Cal State East Bay.
Elected positions held: None
Other experience: Board member, Drowning Darryls swim team; member of the executive board of the Hayward Education Association; member of the bargaining team for HEA; worked at Berkeley Community Theater for 12 years as the assistant theater manager and stage manager.
Party affiliation: Democrat