Fremont District 79 board candidates discuss reasons for running

  • Michael Jandes

    Michael Jandes

  • Agnieszka "Aga" Macoch

    Agnieszka "Aga" Macoch

  • Ronald Swartz, a Fremont School District 79 candidate

    Ronald Swartz, a Fremont School District 79 candidate

  • Gabriela Whipple

    Gabriela Whipple

  • Dave Whitson

    Dave Whitson

  • Ryan Wollberg

    Ryan Wollberg

Updated 3/8/2019 5:54 PM

All want to serve the community, but the Fremont Elementary District 79 school board candidates have different motivations for running in the April 2 election.

Six people are competing for three seats with 4-year terms: incumbents Gabriela Whipple, Agnieszka "Aga" Macoch and Michael Jandes; and challengers Ryan Wollberg, Ronald J. Swartz and Dave Whitson.


District 79 is based in unincorporated Lake County near Mundelein. Consisting of three schools covering prekindergarten through the eighth grade, it serves more than 2,200 students from Mundelein, Wauconda, Hawthorn Woods, Grayslake, Round Lake, Long Grove, Libertyville and unincorporated areas.

Five of the candidates spoke about their motivations for running and other issues Thursday in a joint interview with the Daily Herald. Wollberg couldn't attend but answered the same questions separately via email.

Jandes, a Round Lake resident who's been on the board since 2013, said he first ran, in part, because both his parents worked in education.

"This is kind of my way to give back, to continue on what my parents did," said Jandes, whose two children attend District 79 schools.

He said he's proud of the board's award-winning efforts to operate within a balanced budget. "I think we've been doing a good job," he said.

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Macoch, a Round Lake resident who was appointed to the board in 2017, says she's learned a lot about district operations and believes she can "effect change better" if elected to a full term.

"I feel like I've put in the time to learn," she said. "I would like to continue with the work that we already do."

Macoch especially wants to continue the district's personalized learning philosophy, which aims to customize education around each student's strengths and interests.

Swartz, a semiretired Grayslake resident, said he's always had a passion for education and he's running for the board because he wants to do something for the district's children.

"It's exciting to see children as they grow and develop be interested in education," he said.

Whipple, a Hawthorn Woods resident who was appointed to the board in 2014 and elected in 2015, said she wants to do what's best for the community.


"I've loved being on the board," said Whipple, who has three kids in District 79 schools. "I feel very involved in our community, and it keeps me up to date on what my kids are doing."

Whitson, a Wauconda resident who's a health teacher and athletic coach at Mundelein High School, said serving on the Fremont board will help him better understand students at Mundelein High. Fremont Middle is one of Mundelein High's feeder schools.

Wollberg, a Wauconda resident who's the principal at Woodland Elementary School West in Gages Lake, called education "my life and my passion."

Wollberg, who has one child in a Fremont school, said being part of the District 79 board would be his way "of bringing my experience and expertise to my community to further the education and success of Fremont."

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