The Evanston Township High School family is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our staff members, Ross Freeland, who passed away March 14, 2016. He was 41 years old. His dedication as an educator, baseball coach, and mentor made a profound difference in the lives of many youth and families in the Evanston community and beyond, including his work at Camp Highlands for Boys during the summer.
Ross Freeland joined the ETHS Math Department in 2003 after working as a substitute teacher (2001-2003) and a student teacher (2003) at the high school. He taught a wide range of math topics ranging from Algebra to AP Statistics, and was instrumental in the creation and launch of the new Algebra in Entrepreneurship course at ETHS, an interdisciplinary course that integrates Algebra with topics in business focused on entrepreneurship.
Math Department Chair Dale Leibforth called Freeland “an exceptional teacher, colleague and friend,” noting that his “character, kindness, consistency and daily example” was a model for every adult and student who crossed his path. “He always displayed the true heart of a Wildkit, with courage and grace, and will have a lasting impact on all of our lives,” Leibforth said.
Freeland’s commitment to helping young people was evident beyond the classroom. He was a Mathletes club sponsor for five years and served as a mentor for four years. From 2004-2007, he was a Homebase Facilitator, and he assisted with running the Wildkit Store in 2015. For four years, Freeland could be found working with students on their math homework or preparing for AP Stats exams on Saturday mornings during the high school’s Wildkit Academy program.
But Freeland’s most noted role outside of the classroom may have been his role as coach. Since 2003, Freeland was a coach in the boys baseball program at ETHS, serving as the assistant boys varsity baseball coach for the past nine years with head coach Frank Consiglio.
“Mr. Freeland was an exceptional educator and coach,” said Assistant Superintendent/Principal Marcus Campbell. “He had this ability to see right to the heart of a young person’s potential, and would pour endless energy into inspiring all of our scholars to be the best versions of themselves in the classroom and on the field.”
In his coaching role, Freeland helped guide the varsity baseball team to two of its most successful back-to-back seasons these past two years, winning two IHSA Regional Championships, a Sectional Championship, CSL Championship, and breaking the ETHS record for most wins in a season.
At a Monday evening gathering ETHS baseball student-athletes and their families spoke about the importance Coach Freeland played in their lives beyond the field.
“Coach Freeland is and will always be the heart and soul of Wildkit baseball program. He embodies with his whole being what we all aspire to be,” remarked Consiglio. “Kindness, honesty, and fairness are traits that Coach not just talked about, but exhibited every day of his life.”Visitation services for Ross Freeland will be held as follows:
Thursday, March 17, 2016
320 Vine Avenue
Lake Forest, IL 60045
The visitation is open to the public. The family is making arrangements for a private funeral service.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made as follows:
The Ross Freeland Fund on Go Fund Me: https://www.gofundme.com/rossfreelandfund
ETHS Boys Baseball (direct donation through the ETHS web store): https://eths.revtrak.net/tek9.asp?pg=products&specific=joomrrg0
The ETHS Student Services Department is providing grief counseling to any student or staff member who is having a difficult time dealing with the loss of a fellow Wildkit. ETHS students may contact their grade level counselor during school hours or call the ETHS Counseling Office (847) 424-7580 for assistance or resources.
The Evanston Township High School family is saddened by the passing of our beloved teacher, coach, colleague, mentor, and friend. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, ETHS students, staff, baseball players and coaches. The Evanston community has lost a wonderful educator, a dear friend, and a dedicated Wildkit.