Immigrant advocate Teresa Castellanos and former schools administrator Sandra Engel were elected to the San Jose Unified School District board, in an unusual competitive race for two open seats.

Castellanos beat out schools volunteer Paul Murphy and businessman Bill Kleidon in Trustee Area 1. Engel defeated volunteer Cathy Davis in Trustee Area 2.

On the five-member board, Trustee Area 1 represents the downtown and Northside communities. Incumbent Jorge Gonzalez did not run for another term.

Castellanos, 46, who coordinates immigrant programs for the Santa Clara County Office of Human Relations, had said she would work to involve parents in schools and that charters should be part of the school district where they're located rather than being authorized by an outside agency, such as the Santa Clara County Board of Education.

Murphy, 45, a business analyst at Valley Medical Center, had touted his expertise in finance. He also said he values teaching violence prevention and providing mental health counseling in schools. Kleidon, 56, a private investigator who founded a free recreational sports league for Northside students, said he was concerned about the majority of students who don't attend college.

Trustee Area 2 represents the Almaden Valley, currently represented by Leslie Reynolds, who did not seek re-election.

Engel, the district's retired director of secondary education, said she was knowledgeable about the district, and would prioritize spending in the classroom. Davis, 48, said she wanted to improve communication and ensure the district provides timely and accurate information to the community.


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In Trustee Area 3, representing Willow Glen, Pam Foley was re-elected without a challenge.

Contact Sharon Noguchi at 408-271-3775. Follow her at Twitter.com/NoguchiOnK12.