Rebecca Gagnon retained her citywide seat on the Minneapolis school board Tuesday and will be joined by former City Council Member Don Samuels.

Gagnon and Samuels finished ahead of Iris Altamirano, a former labor organizer, and American Indian advocate Ira Jourdain in a hotly divided race for two seats that saw unprecedented spending.

"It feels good for a very grass-roots, word-of-mouth, volunteer-driven campaign to beat half a million dollars," Gagnon said.

Samuels said he was thrilled to have gained the support of thousands of Minneapolis residents.

"Now, together, we can begin a new chapter in the story of Minneapolis public schools," he said on his Facebook page. "One where we put the needs of kids first and fulfill our promise to offer an excellent education to all our children."

Gagnon was the target of various attack ads printed by the Minneapolis Progressive Education Fund, a political action group that supported Samuels and Altamirano.

The group raised at least $228,000 from numerous out-of-state donors, including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who generally oppose teacher tenure and support more charter schools.

Spending in the race will likely top $500,000.

Altamirano could not be reached for comment.

Jourdain had strongly campaigned for less testing and staunchly supported teacher seniority. Despite not securing a victory, he said he was excited to see the changes that new members will bring to the district.

Three other school board seats were also on the ballot. In District 5, Nelson Inz beat out Jay Larson and will succeed current school board member Alberto Monserrate. Jenny Arneson, in District 1, and Siad Ali, in District 3, ran unopposed.