Durham resident Eileen Buckheit was elected to the Region 13 Board of Education Monday night.
Buckheit, a Democrat, defeated Republican Eric Berens 127-108 in a secret ballot vote during a well attended town meeting at Coginchaug High School.
"This is my first time running for office after 20 years in the public sector, but I have spent my entire career building communities and that's what this position is about," Buckheit said.
The East Hartford native is an analyst for a commercial real estate firm and previously worked as Commissioner of Planning and Development for the City of West Haven.
She replaces Durham resident Thomas Hennick, who stepped down last month after serving 10 years on the board, including five as chairman.
This fall, all three of Buckheit's children will be enrolled in District 13 schools.
"After years working in other communities I wanted to volunteer in my town in ways that I know I can make a difference. I look forward to being a part of the board," she said.
Both candidates answered several questions from the public before the vote was taken.
Berens, a 1989 Coginchaug High School graduate, attempted to capitalize on his experience in the corporate world. He said he planned to bring more scrutiny to school spending and the result of test scores.
"Really, at the end of the day, as taxpayers you want the best bang for the buck for your children," he said.
When asked the question what difference party affiliation had with being on the board, Buckheit said the community should work together.
"I'm not trying to stand here as a Democrat. I'm trying to stand here as a parent and a taxpayer," she said. "I'm here to volunteer my time."
Buckheit will face re-election again in May at the annual budget meeting, according to officials.