Wilmette, News

Local elections are months away, but we know plenty already — starting at the top

Local leadership change is inevitable in 2021.

In New Trier Township, at least three village presidents and the township supervisor will be replaced, and there will be significant turnover elsewhere as well. 

While the municipal election is not until April, with early voting beginning in March, the candidate process has begun. Those seeking public office can turn in appropriate paperwork starting Monday, Dec. 14. Applications are due a week later, Monday, Dec. 21. 

The Record spoke with dozens of local officials in advance of the application process to give residents an early look at their candidates — and it starts at the top.

In Wilmette, Village President Bob Bielinski has served the maximum two terms, and Trustees Senta Plunkett and Joel Kurzman confirmed their intent to vie for the empty seat.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Plunkett, a trustee since 2015. “I’ve loved serving on the board and I think I want to continue to do this to work with residents and the board and staff. 

“Wilmette is one of the best suburbs to live in and I’m really excited about some of the projects we have coming up in the future. I want to be part of it.”

Kurzman, whose trustee term is up, shared similar thoughts.

“I like the way things are going,” he said. “I feel like we have the right direction and priorities. I’m proud of the role I’ve played to put us on this course. In my mind, it is the next step up to steer this ship and take us to the next level.

“I think I am well qualified and have the pulse of the community to make that happen.”

In Northfield, Village President Joan Frazier is planning a re-election bid but as an independent candidate. 

The Northfield Caucus selected as its candidate Greg Lungmus, who is finishing his first term as village trustee.

Frazier, a retired attorney who has served the board since 2007, said it is common practice in Northfield for a village president to serve two terms, and while she does not know why she was not selected by the caucus, she is looking forward to running a campaign. 

“Things are going great and I would like to continue on. I think I am very capable,” Frazier told The Record. “I think it’s important through the pandemic to have continuity.”

In Northfield’s last election, two trustees — Tom Whittaker and Charles Orth — ran independently of the caucus and won. 

In Kenilworth, Village President Ann Potter, who was elected to the position in 2017, has decided not to run for a second term.

“I feel it’s time to step away, try some new things myself and make way for others to bring their energy and ideas to the Village Board,” she wrote to The Record.

The Kenilworth Citizens Advisory Committee announced Dec. 6 its full slate for the April election, and it included Cecily Kaz, current Kenilworth trustee, for the position of village president. 

It is unclear if she will face opposition.

In Glencoe, Village President Lawrence Levin will not run again, telling The Record via email that he is honoring the village “tradition” of only serving two terms. 

The Glencoe Caucus has endorsed Howard Roin, a former trustee (1985-1993) and current Zoning Board chairman.

Winnetka Village President Chris Rintz was reslated by the Winnetka Caucus, which also slated Rintz in his 2017 bid for the position.

Rintz ran and lost against caucus-slated candidate Gene Greable in 2013.

Leadership will also turn over at the Township level, where Supervisor Alan Goldberg will not seek re-election and neither will longtime clerk Jerome Hoynes.

The New Trier Citizens League’s township slate includes Trustee Gail Eisenberg for supervisor, as she won favor over fellow Trustee John Thomas, according to League President Peter Tyor.

Thomas, however, was among the trustee selections, joining incumbents Elliott Robbins and Stefan Mozer and newcomer Danielle Rubin on the slate. Incumbent Jan Churchwell and newcomer Nicole Capretta were slated for assessor and clerk, respectively.

Below is a list of more news The Record has confirmed about the April 2021 local election. This story will be updated as information becomes available:


D203 School Board: With four open seats, the New Trier Caucus slated one incumbent and three newcomers, as previously reported by The Record. Incumbent Keith Dronen is joined by Avik Das, Kimberly Alcantara and Sally Tomlinson on the slate. Board members Carol Ducommun and Marc Glucksman are not running for re-election, while Greg Robitaille was left off the slate. The Record could not confirm other independent candidates by publication time.


Village Board: Three seats are open, with incumbents Peter Barrow and Kathy Dodd running again. Residents Kate Gjaja, a former League of Women Voters president, and Justin Sheperd, a plan commissioner, both confirmed they will challenge for the seats.

Park Board: Multiple sources confirmed that a crowded field of at least 10 candidates have shown interest in three open seats. One of those is incumbent Bryan Abbott, while Board President Gordon Anderson and board member Amy Wolfe said they will not run again.

Wilmette D39 School Board: Four seats are available. Board President Lisa Schneider-Fabes is planning to seek re-election, while incumbent Mark Steen will not. Board members Jon Cesaretti and Ellen Sternweiler, whose terms will expire, did not immediately return emails from The Record.

Library Board: The seats of Stuart Wolf, Ronald Rodgers and Dan Johnson are available.

Avoca D37 School Board: Four seats are open. Board member Jamie Taylor confirmed she will not run again, while Gil Gibori will run. The terms of Board President Rick Zelinsky and Dan Garbis are also expiring.

WINNETKA (caucus)

Village Council: Incumbent Andrew Cripe and newcomers Jonathan Alt and Kim Mancini were selected by the Winnetka Caucus. Jack Coladarci’s and Bob Dearborn’s terms are expiring.

Park Board: The terms of Teresa Claybrook, Warren James and Eric Lussen are up. Lussen and James are joined by Colleen Root on the caucus slate.

D36 School Board: The caucus selected current member Steve Cirullis and newcomers Alyssa Rapp and Dan Waters, while the terms of Nat Roberts and Scott Conine are up in 2021.

Library Board: Incumbents JP Ruiz-Funes and Sarah Munoz are slated by the caucus, and so are newcomers Tom Sundell, Melissa Mitchell and Todd Van Neck. The terms of Katerine Casale MacNally, Rahella Gill Anwar and Brian Johnson are also expiring.

GLENCOE (caucus)

Village Board: Gail Lissner, Dudley Onderdonk and Gary Ruben are on the caucus slate. Lissner and Ruben are current board members, while Onderdonk serves on the plan commission and Park Board. Trustee Barbara Miller’s term is expiring.

Park Board: The caucus selected for its slate: current vice president Stefanie Boron and newcomers Brandon Hinkle and Barton Schneider.

D35 School Board: President Kelly Glauberman leads the caucus slate, which also includes incumbent Marc Gale and newcomers Joshua Markus and Enna Allen. Board members Ashley Kain Silver’s and Melissa Eates’ terms are up.

Library Board: Current President Kathy Doyle and 10-year board member Teresa Grosch will not return, but incumbents Bruce Ronner, Laura Solon and John Tuohy are all on the caucus slate. They are joined by Michael Pope and Beth Schnecker.

KENILWORTH (caucus)  

Village Board: All newcomers — Amy Hannus, Walter Kelly and Christopher Ottsen — were selected for a slate by the Kenilworth Citizens Advisory Committee. Expiring trustees are Jeff Bedwell, Scott Lien and Cecily Kaz, who is the committee’s candidate for village president.

Village Clerk: Michael Gagnon is on the committee’s slate. Patrick Garvey’s term is up in 2021.

Park Board: Incumbents Emily D’Souza, Board President John Hart and Stacey Sunderland are on the committee’s slate.

D38 School Board: Two of four expiring board members are on the slate: Steve Potter and Bill Graham. They are joined by Paul Anderson and Ashish Kaura. Current board members John Gottschall and Andrew Stone have expiring terms.

Library Board: The committee selected four newcomers: Julia Atkin, Alex Buck, Pete Driscoll and Kathy Kirrish. The expiring trustees are: Kay Alexander, Kathleen Lyman, Betsy Moerschel and Betsy Kilroy.


Village Board: Three newcomers — Barnaby Dinges, Matthew Galin and Tracey Mendrek — are the caucus candidates. Trustee Greg Lungmus is slated for village president, while the terms of John Goodwin and Thomas Terrill end in 2021.

Sunset Ridge D29 School Board: The terms of Bill Hayes and Anne Peterson expire in 2021. It is unclear if they are running for re-election.

joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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