Leon Marzillier, chairman of the mathematics department at Valley College in Van Nuys, was elected President of Local 1521 American Federation of Teachers, upsetting two-term incumbent Gwen Hill.
The campaign, which culminated in recent debates on each of the nine campuses in the Los Angeles Community College District, was fought primarily over the issues of salary and retirement benefits.
The combined results from all campuses showed Marzillier receiving 765 votes to 522 votes for Hill. Another candidate, George Rubio, receive 24 votes.
The union has about 4,000 members, 2,400 of whom are eligible to vote, union officials said.
After the results were tabulated, an emotional Marzillier said: "Whatever position any faculty member took, I am certain that it was for the good of the union. I hold no grudges. The effectiveness of this guild stems from whatever unity we can muster."
Marzillier, a native of Great Britain who has been a community college instructor since 1970, takes office July 1.