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Wave of youth in some districts Schools: Shake-up on Mundelein board.

Byline: Mick Zawislak and James Fuller

Young voices will be heard on two Lake County school boards with two 20-somethings winning seats, including one race in which the incumbent board president fell short of re-election.

Voters also knocked out two of three incumbents in Mundelein Elementary District 75.

But elsewhere, incumbents fared well, including a sweep of three running for re-election in a six-way race in Vernon Hills-based Hawthorn Elementary District 73. All three incumbents also won in Libertyville-Vernon Hills District 128.

Jonathan Reinoso, 23, will be one of three new faces on the Grayslake High School District 127 board, where five candidates were seeking four open seats. In that race, unofficial results showed board President Edwin Brown in last place.

In Wauconda Unit District 118, 26-year-old Vincent Torossy, who grew up in Wauconda, is set to be one of two newcomers to the board, in which four candidates vied for three seats.

"It's a little daunting to be a 23-year-old candidate where your opponents are all two to three times your age," Reinoso said. "But all five of us shared a commitment to bettering our school district and that's what I'm going to do."

"The biggest hurdle I faced was people saying I don't have a child in the district," Torossy said. "My response was that I'm a product of the district myself and I just graduated in 2011," and have a good grasp how to help prepare the next generation of students, he added.

Torossy joined incumbent Kathleen Bianco and newcomer Robert John Collins on the District 118 board with incumbent Jonathan Feryance, the school board president in fourth place, according to early unofficial totals.

In District 127, incumbent Kathleen Conlon Wasik was the leading vote-getter with 1,133 votes, and newcomer Erin Westphal had the next highest total with 1,028 votes. Avon Township Democrats President Hal Sloan was third with 956 votes.

Hawthorn District 73

Three incumbents running for re-election appear to be on their way to another term.

And at least one newcomer will join them as four seats were up for election with six candidates running.

Unofficial results showed incumbents Robin Cleek and Sonali Patil leading the pack with 1,151 and 899 votes, respectively. Retiree Joel Finfer, who served on the Stevenson High School board for 11 years ending in 2002, held the third spot with 859 votes. He was followed in fourth by incumbent George Fievet with 788 votes.

Candidates Michael Murphy, an IT consultant, and Lenny Nieves, a field director for the Illinois Federation of Teachers, who were seeking their first elected offices, were fifth and sixth with 572 and 533 votes, respectively.

Patil, the school board president, and Cleek are seeking second terms. Fievet was recently appointed to fill a vacancy.

"The continuity will be huge," Cleek said. "There's a lot of strength to build on there."

Fremont Elementary District 79

Two Fremont Elementary School District 79 trustees headed to victory in a six-way race Tuesday night, and a third incumbent had a razor-thin lead to stay on the board.

Unofficial results showed incumbents Gabriela Whipple, Agnieszka "Aga" Macoch and Michael Jandes leading challengers Ryan Wollberg, Ronald J. Swartz and Dave Whitson.

Mundelein Elementary District 75

A shake-up was unfolding in Mundelein Elementary District 75 school board, with two of three incumbents running behind in a crowded field in the race for three seats.

With all precincts reporting, unofficial results show newcomers Kristie Fingerhut, a family law attorney, and Lisa St. Clair, a human resource professional and longtime volunteer, leading the field with 659 and 559 votes respectively. Incumbent Alexandria Avila was third among seven candidates with 593 votes.

Incumbents Fred Goldman and Matthew Rehm were fourth and fifth with 479 and 386 votes, respectively. Elisa Camp and Jessica Neyzelman rounded out the field in the first contested election in District 75 since 2003.

The transition to a shared superintendent and services with Mundelein High School District 120 will be one issue facing the board moving forward. District 120 Superintendent Kevin Myers will head both districts and both will contribute to his salary and benefits.

Libertyville-Vernon Hills District 128

In Libertyville-Vernon Hills District 128, incumbents James Batson, Lisa Hessel and Katherine "Casey" Rooney look to be in the lead, but early results show a strong challenge from newcomer Elizabeth Bruckner.

Many of the candidates were focused on an upcoming $30.3 million expansion and renovation project that will affect both the Vernon Hills High and Libertyville High campuses.

Mundelein High School District 120

Two incumbents and a newcomer are leading the race for three seats on the Mundelein High School District 120 board. Veteran trustees Jane Siegal and Joanne Anderson plus newcomer Lisa Yaffe were out front in the contest with all precincts reporting.
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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Apr 3, 2019
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