WHITTIER – Incumbent Andre Quintero was leading in early election returns Tuesday in the race for three open seats on the Rio Hondo College board of trustees.And the three school board incumbents for the Whittier Union High School District – Leighton Anderson, Jeff Baird and Alex Morales – also ap-peared to be headed for victory late Tuesday.“We ex-pected each of the incumbents to do well because the school district is doing well,” Baird said. “We’re real proud so far to be leading the pack.”In the Rio Hondo Community College District, two candidates were running for one seat in each of the odd-numbered geographical areas.In Area 1, which represents the city of El Monte, Quintero made a bid to retain his seat against challenger Dave Siegrist.Siegrist said he would redirect the college’s focus to El Monte, adding that the current board has done little to increase its presence there.But Quintero pointed to a recent $700,000 federal grant that will create a pipeline from El Monte middle and high schools directly to Rio Hondo College.“I feel very excited about the progress the college has made over the last four years,” Quintero said. “I’m pleased to have the opportunity to continue to serve should the election results continue in the direction they’re going.”In Area 3, which represents South El Monte and Whittier, challengers Louis Reyes and Angela Acosta-Salazar battled each other for the seat.As a part-time college professor, Acosta-Salazar had said she would represent the voices of students and teachers on the board. But Reyes, a former Rio Hondo student, said the college is like “home” to him and cited numerous examples of his community service in the Whittier area.In Area 5, which covers East Whittier, the race was between retired corporate executive Tom Ghysels and Montebello police Chief Garry Couso-Vasquez.Ghysels, a former Hacienda-La Puente Unified School District trustee, said he simply wanted to continue student access to the college and increase educational opportunities for local residents.Couso-Vasquez characterized himself as a “cop who cares” and believes in education as the right path for today’s youngsters.In the Whittier Union High School District, the three incumbents were rebuffing challenges by Brian Beelner that there were too many attorneys and questions about test scores.Anderson pointed out that the district showed the biggest improvement in Academic Performance Index scores among public school districts in Los Angeles County.Beelner questioned having too many attorneys on the board. But Anderson and Baird, both lawyers, countered that their legal experience helps them. [email protected]@sgvn.com(562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051 or 3022 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!