HAYWARD -- Voters ousted an incumbent on the school board Tuesday, opting to put two newcomers in a pair of available four-year spots, while the two-year race saw an appointed trustee narrowly defeat a challenger.
"(Voters) wanted to see changes, and I don't blame people," said Lisa Brunner, a parent and activist who secured the most votes for the four-year seat.
She credited her community involvement and high visibility at board meetings with helping her land more than 26 percent of the vote.
"People recognize me," Brunner said. "Even if they didn't know me by name, a lot of people would see my picture on a flier and say, 'Oh I know her, she's that lady so-and-so.' "
She will be joined by William McGee, a youthful educator who got 25 percent of the vote. McGee could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
Former Assemblywoman Audie Bock came in third at just over 19 percent, followed by incumbent Sheila Sims with a little more than 17 percent.
Sims said she's "a little disappointed but not crushed."
"Obviously they wanted new people, and now they have them," she said. "I'm just hoping it works for the board and the district. All I want is what's best for the kids."
Sims, who had a reputation as being the quietest member of the board, said her stint as a trustee will mark the end of her two-year political career.
"I think being in the public eye was not something I took to," she said.
For the two-year seat, appointed incumbent and former Hayward City Manager Jesus Armas came out on top after early results had challenger Annette Walker winning by a hair's breadth.
Walker, previously an unknown, was helped in her campaign by strong support from former Councilwoman Anna May and her husband, former City Manager Greg Jones, who abandoned a planned joint run for the school board with Walker as the third member of a slate.
Walker and Armas both said the May-Jones backing was a major factor in the race, which in the end had the two separated by 463 votes.
"They threw everything they had behind me and into this race," Walker said. "They were a force to be reckoned with, and really believed in bringing an educator to the school board."
Walker said she intends to work in other capacities to help Hayward schools, and is mulling a future run for the board.
The district has a host of problems, from an unbalanced budget that puts it at risk of state takeover to flagging test scores. Infighting between members in the past year has further scarred the board's public image.
The newly elected members will join trustees Luis Reynoso and Maribel Heredia, the board vice president and likely successor to board President Paul Frumkin, who declined to run for another term.
Armas said come December when the new board is seated, "one of the big things is to find how we will all work together."
He said they will have to take stock of where they stand individually and where they are going as a board.
"We'll have to reaffirm some things, or make it a thing that needs to change," he said. "But we don't have time to screw around."