Appel, Levya-Cutler triumphant in Berkeley school board election

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Judy Appel and incumbent Beatriz Leyva-Cutler won the two open director positions on the Berkeley Unified School District School Board of Education Tuesday night, winning over two other candidates.

The school board is composed of five elected directors who serve staggered four-year terms, one student director elected annually from Berkeley High School and the district superintendent, who serves as the secretary.

Though a newcomer, Appel has held multiple public offices and has worked for more than 20 years with issues of social justice and family matters.

“I believe that every child deserves the opportunity to be seen, valued and challenged at school, and I will provide the creative and proactive leadership to help make that happen,” Appel said in her campaign statement.

Appel, a mother of two students in the school district, was endorsed by the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, the entire Berkeley City Council and three current school board members.

Incumbent Leyva-Cutler, who was elected to the school board in 2008, will maintain her director position for another four years.

Leyva-Cutler has worked for more than 32 years with a Latino nonprofit in Berkeley that provides bilingual child development services to children. Her  platform includes bridging the achievement gap and maintaining consistent academic standards at Berkeley High School.

“I have worked with community leaders to overwhelmingly pass two school parcel taxes and a construction bond measure which is the basis for BUSD’s small class sizes and excellent school facilities,” she said in her campaign statement.

School board candidates Tracy Hollander and Norma Harrison did not receive enough of the votes to constitute a win.

Weiru Fang is the assistant city news editor. Contact her at [email protected]