Board of Education

Print this page

William Grimpe, President
General Board email:

The River Trails Elementary School District 26 Board of Education (Board) consists of seven public officials who are elected at large from the geographic boundaries established by law for the River Trails Elementary School District. The Board can only take action as a governing body when it is convened at a formally advertised open public meeting. The members are elected on a staggered basis according to the Illinois School Code adopted by the Illinois General Assembly. 

The Board, representing local community mores, determines the philosophy by which the School District will be governed. The philosophy is expressed through the policies adopted by the Board. In order for the Board to carry out its legal charge given to it by the Illinois State Constitution, the Board has established a structure to govern itself. The Board annually elects three officers: president, vice president, and secretary. The current Board functions under a committee structure. Three Board members are assigned to each standing committee by the president. The standing committees supervise the preparation of multi-year plans of action for finance, facilities, and technology for Board approval. The Strategic Plan is directed by the District Mission Statement, Goals and Action Plans established by the Board in conjunction with the professional staff and community. 

Board of Education


Board Members
Front Row: Donna Johnson, Frank Fiarito, William Grimpe (President) 
Back Row: Robert Rognstad, Dr. Susan Stolzer (Secretary), Dr. Nancy Wagner (Superintendent of Schools),  Janine Freedlund (Vice President), and Sam Bae

Meet the RTSD26 Board of Education

Mr. William Grimpe, President


Service: Mr. Grimpe appointed to the board in October 2016 and elected to a four-year term in May 2017. Elected as board president in 2021.

Family: Mr. Grimpe is married to his wife Kristin, and has two daughters – Kendall and Presley who  attend District 26.

Occupation: Mr. Grimpe works in the merchandising department of a leading office products wholesaler and distributor.

Education: Mr. Grimpe has an Associate’s Degree in communications and over 19 years of merchandising and marketing experience in the business world.

Community Service & Affiliations: Aside from being the Board Secretary, Mr. Grimpe also serves as the Chair Person of the District’s Public Relations Committee and serves as a member of the Operations Committee and is the district’s representative on the River Trails Education Foundation. He also serves as the executive secretary on the Grace Lutheran Church council.  He has served two terms on the council and will complete his last term in February 2021.  He also coaches his daughters’ soccer teams for the River Trails Park District.

Mrs. Janine Freedlund, Vice President


Mrs. Freedlund was elected to complete the last two years of a four-year term in   April 2019.  Elected as board vice president in 2021.
Family: Mrs. Freedlund and her husband have three daughters, two of which attend Euclid   Elementary School;  the youngest is currently attending preschool.   
Occupation: Mrs. Freedlund is employed as an Internship Advisor within District 214: she works with   local business partners to help high school students explore various career pathways.   
Education: Mrs. Freedlund earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Arts degree in   School Counseling.  She worked in the corporate sector for ten years prior to   moving   into   the field of education.   
Community   Service   &   Affiliations:  While most of Mrs. Freedlund’s time is dedicated to raising her children, she participates in as many school and community events  as possible. 

Dr. Susan Stolzer, Secretary


Service: Dr. Stolzer was appointed to the Board of Education in February 2017 and elected to a four-year term in May 2017. Elected as board secretary in 2021.

Family: Dr. Stolzer is married to her husband Greg, and has 2 children -  Jack (RTMS, 7th grade), Daughter: Anna (Euclid, 4th)

Occupation:  Dr. Stolzer is an Inclusion Facilitator/ Instructional Coach, Early Childhood Special Education

Education: Dr. Stolzer has her BA in English, MAT in Early Childhood Education, PhD in Child Development with an area of concentration in Children with Special Needs

Community Service & Affiliations: Euclid library renovation committee, River Trails Education Foundation Trivia Night committee, Euclid PTC Walk-a-Thon Chair, Euclid PTC Fun Fair Co-Chair

Mr. Frank Fiarito, Board Member


Service: Mr. Fiarito was elected to the Board on April 5, 2011. He served as board president from 2017 to 2021. 

Family: Mr. Fiarito is married to his wife Christine, and has one daughter - Sofia, who attends River Trails Middle School and 2 children  at Hersey. 

Mrs. Donna Johnson, Board Member


Service: Mrs. Johnson was appointed to the Board on August 8, 1986 to fill a vacancy and was subsequently elected on April 4, 1987. She served until September 1998 when she took a four-year leave. She was reelected on April 1, 2003 and has served ever since.

Family: Mrs. Johnson and her husband were married in 1971 and moved to District 26 in Mount Prospect in 1978. They have two adult sons who were educated at Euclid School, River Trails Middle School and Hersey High School. they are currently raising a grandson who was also educated at Euclid & Trails, and is now at Hersey. 

Occupation: Mrs.  Johnson  retired  in  December  2018  after  25  years  in  the  District  214  ESL Adult Education  Program; the  last  15  of  those  years  as  the  Fiscal  Coordinator,  responsible  for $2M  budget.

Education: Mrs. Johnson is considered the Board historian and offers insight when asked. She researched the history of District 26 and organized the centennial celebration in 1995. Mrs. Johnson's longevity in the community uniquely positions her to network with the park district and the village. 

Community Service & Affiliation:  Mrs. Johnson has served in all executive positions of the District 26 Board of Education. She has been President eight times, Vice-President seven times, and Secretary five times. She has served one time or another, throughout various years, as committee chairperson of Finance, Negotiations, Operations, Public Relations, and Policy. She has served on each of the District's Strategic Plan Committees. In 1985, before she was on the Board, Mrs. Johnson served as the lead member of the Parent Advisory Committee to investigate and implement all-day kindergarten. In 2016, Mrs. Johnson served on the River Trails Park District Delphi Committee (their strategic plan) which assisted the park district in a review and discussion of facilities, finances, operations and programs. Mrs. Johnson has worked on various referenda for the school district, park district, and the village. Mrs. Johnson has been an integral part of the hiring process for five District 26 Superintendents. 

In the neighborhood, Mrs. Johnson took responsibility for her subdivision's (Camelot) entrance markers. She and her husband maintain them and keep them from falling into disrepair. Mrs. Johnson is also known as the neighborhood's "Luminaria Lady" organizing the neighbors to light about 700 candles on Christmas Eve on Westgate Rd and on a part of Greenwood. 

Mr. Robert Rognstad, Board Member


Service: Mr. Rognstad was elected to RTSD2 Board of Education in 2019. Robert serves on the Finance  Committee and serves as the RTSD Representative on the Northwest Suburban Special Education  Organization board.     

Family: Mr. Rognstad is married to his wife Julie; they have a daughter Eleanor and son Sheldon.     

Occupation:  Mr. Rognstad is the President & CEO of ETS Technology Solutions.     

Education: Mr. Rognstad studied Business Administration at the University of Phoenix and Roosevelt University. Mr. Rognstad has earned several technical certifications including Microsoft’s MCSE, Citrix’s CCA and VMware’s VCP certifications.   

Community Service & Affiliations: Mr. Rognstad has become an advocate for those with special needs and is active in the local and international communities seeking to educate and support those with extreme challenges.  Mr. Rognstad is a parishioner at St. Raymond’s Catholic Church in Mount Prospect.

Mr. Samuel Bae, Board Member


Service: Mr. Bae was appointed - June 2017;  Elected - April 2019 to a four-year term ending 2023.  

Family: Mr. Bae is Married to Minji with two children – Sydney (5th Grade) attending Indian Grove Elementary School and Mason (9th Grade) attending Hersey High School.  Residents of the school district since 2006. 

Occupation: Mr. Bae is an Attorney (Law Office of Samuel S. Bae – Des Plaines, Illinois) 
Education: Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona – B.A. History (1994); UIC - John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois – J.D. (1998)

Community Service & Affiliations: River Trails Park District (Past Volunteer Basketball Coach); Mount Prospect Park District (Past Volunteer Baseball Coach); Legal Aid Chicago (Volunteer Attorney); Korean American Women In Need (Volunteer Attorney); Gertrude B. Nielsen Child Care and Learning Center (Past Board Member); Korean American Bar Association Pro-Bono Legal Clinic (Past Volunteer Attorney); Chicago Bar Association; Illinois State Bar Association; State Bar of Texas; National Asian Pacific American Bar Association; Korean American Bar Association of Chicago (Past Board Member); and Asian American Bar Association of Chicago. 

Individuals with Disabilities
River Trails School District 26 is subject to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as well as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Individuals with disabilities who plan to attend this meeting and who require certain accommodations in order to allow them to attend and/or participate, or who have questions regarding the accessibility of the meeting or the facilities, are requested to contact the Superintendent’s office at (847) 297-4120 extension 7301.