LOS ANGELES - Pomona school board member Andrew Wong can't call himself a teacher in election information or on a Nov. 3 ballot, according to a ruling by a Superior Court judge.

Judge James Chalfant on Tuesday ordered that Wong be identified on the ballot as "School board member, Pomona Unified School District."

"I believe that is a valid ballot title," Chalfant said in court.

Three Pomona Unified teachers who live in the city, along with the Associated Pomona Teachers, sought the court order.

Dean Logan, Los Angeles County's registrar-recorder/county clerk, was named a respondent, and Wong was named an interested party.

Petitioners sought legal action after noticing the use of the term "teacher" in describing Wong in county election materials.

In court documents, the teachers said Wong, who is a lawyer, should be identified as a "lawyer" or "attorney" instead of as a "teacher/school board member."

After the hearing, Tyra Weis, one of the petitioners and president of the teachers union, said they wanted the court order because they believed Wong's description was misleading.

She said many people serve in a teaching role, although that is not their occupation or what they trained to do in life. The judge's decision brings with it "recognition and respect for the profession."

The title the judge selected was one of Wong's choices when he filed nomination documents with the county - but not his top choice.

Wong is a licensed attorney and a partner in the Los Angeles office of the law firm Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe.

Wong said the teachers' action has been politically motivated and that the issue could have been addressed with a phone call.

"Had they contacted me, we would have avoided the time and energy" and the use of the court's time, Wong said.

What teachers have tried to do is "get a monopoly" on the use of the term "teacher" and "strengthen their political clout," he said.

After noticing Wong's use of "teacher," Weis said she and fellow petitioners researched the matter and found legal action was their only option. There was no political angle to the matter, she said.

"It was not done with a plan that would be gaining anything other than an informed electorate," Weis said.

Wong said using the term "teacher" "helped describe something that I had done."

In the past, Wong has said part of his work involved offering education training to lawyers in his firm.

In a tentative decision Chalfant issued before Tuesday's court session, he said, "Wong's principal profession ... was as an attorney, not teacher, and the word `teacher' is misleading in his ballot designation."

The fact that Wong used the designation "Educator/Lawyer" on the ballot when he ran successfully in 2005 is irrelevant because the job title involves the candidate's occupation for the past year, even though it was misleading, Chalfant wrote.