They are David Morris, physician-researcher and professor of medicine, and Bill Youstra, a former AOL vice president, whose ballot designation is "consultant/dad."
Both men filed early last week, several days before the filing period closed Friday.
The board seat became vacant when former trustee Donna Carano resigned Oct. 18 in the middle of her four-year term. After trustees deadlocked 2-2 on appointing one of two applicants for the board seat, they called a special election to decide who would serve the remaining term, which ends in December 2009.
Dr. Morris, the first to file, specializes in pulmonary and critical care medicine. He was a full-time faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco, and the Yale University School of Medicine, and continues to teach at UCSF.
He is an attending physician at San Francisco General Hospital, and does clinical research for an area biopharmaceutical company.
He and his wife, artist Annie Ahern, and their two daughters, moved to Portola Valley a year ago. Their older daughter will start kindergarten at Ormondale School in August.
Dr. Morris, in an interview and by e-mail, said he believes an outstanding education system is now more essential than ever to ensuring a well-informed, open-minded, productive and collaborative society. He said he's committed to ensuring that the Portola Valley schools continue to exemplify and advance that ideal.
"I believe passionately that an education is measured not only by the information it transmits, but by the love of learning it imparts," he said. "While the fact-base constantly changes, the value of critical thinking and creative problem-solving never does."
He said many of the challenges facing local communities, the country and the planet will require the best, most innovative, and ethical science, and it's "incumbent on us to prepare our children to rise to these challenges."
In an interview and in a statement, Mr. Youstra said he sees Portola Valley's kids exhibiting a diverse array of talents and needs. The children need not just traditional academics, but to develop creative, physical, emotional, behavioral and social skills.
One child may be strong at math, but need support for the social aspects of group projects, he said. Another may be ready for advanced writing challenges, but struggle with the concentration required for creative problem-solving.
" I see this in my own four kids — I'll have kids at both schools until 2014 — and what works for one might not work for the other," he said.
There are two key parties in education, he said: parents and teachers. All others are arrayed to provide resources, support and specialized expertise.
"My goal as a board member is simple: to align educators with the community's goals and hopes for its children, and to align the community with the educators' plans to achieve those goals."
Mr. Youstra comes from a family of educators, including teachers, a dean and a curriculum administrator. He's also taught briefly, at both ends of the pedagogical spectrum: drilling students on textbook fundamentals and letting them loose in team-based experiential learning exercises.
He holds a master's degree in education administration and policy analysis at Stanford, where he also received an MBA.
He and his wife Jennifer Youstra are involved as volunteers in the school. He served on the district's interview committee last spring that recommended the new Ormondale principal, Jennifer Warren.
Ballots and the official candidate's statements will be mailed to all registered voters in the district on April 7.