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Post-recall mayoral appointees lead school board race

(From left) Lisa Weissman-Ward, Ann Hsu and Lainie Motamedi, three new members of San Francisco school board pose for a portrait in front of the San Francisco Unified School District building at 555 Franklin St. on March 18, 2022. | Ekevara Kitpowsong

All three school board members appointed by Mayor London Breed in the aftermath of a recall election earlier this year lead over remaining candidates as of Tuesday’s first round of results.

Lisa Weissman-Ward, Lainie Motamedi and Ann Hsu have the highest number of votes, at 23%, 20% and 19% of the vote, respectively. Challenger Alida Fisher is in fourth place with 16% of the votes, according to the San Francisco Department of Elections.

Board of Education Commissioners Lisa Weissman-Ward and Lainie Motamedi smile at the first round of results showing them in the top two to retain their seats on Nov. 8, 2022. | Ida Mojadad/SF Standard

Breed appointed Motamedi, Hsu and Weissman-Ward after voters recalled three school board members in February. The three board members—Gabriela López, Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga—were recalled in a landslide of upward of 68% each during a special election that garnered 36% of registered voters

Had they survived the recall, all three would have been up for reelection on Tuesday.  

López, who jumped in the race to reclaim her seat at the last minute, garnered 12% of the votes as of Tuesday night. She had expressed a desire to go before voters during a regular election with higher turnout. 

Gabriela López was recalled from her position as president of Board of Education earlier this year. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

Karen Fleshman, a diversity consultant, came in last with 10% votes.

Since the recall, school board dynamics shifted considerably. This was largely seen in the decision to restore special admissions of Lowell High School, which the previous board ended in a move toward equity but ended up being key to the recall’s success.  

Board of Education member Ann Hsu and Board of Supervisors District 4 candidate Joel Engardio at Noriega Teriyaki House in San Francisco on Nov. 8, 2022. | Chris Victorio for The Standard

Hsu caused controversy with remarks made in a candidate questionnaire that stereotyped Black and Brown families, attributing “lack of parental engagement” as the main cause for a gap in student performance. The school board admonished her in August, but the comments hung over the election.

The final result may take weeks as the city counts the remaining ballots.