Board Member Bios

Member Bios
David Ko headshotDavid Ko
Dr. David Y. Ko is a board certified licensed chiropractic physician and acupuncturist. He attended Cleveland Chiropractic College of Los Angeles, where he received his Doctorate of Chiropractic. He also received special recognition for his volunteer work while in clinic, where he treated patients in collaboration with medical facilities at University of Southern California and the Venice Beach Family Clinic. Dr. Ko actively participates in giving back to the community. As a local resident who grew up in Skokie attending Lincoln Junior High and Niles North High School, he worked as a volunteer spending more than 5000 hours at St. Francis and Rush North Shore Hospitals combined. He also helped establish the volunteer group We Help Others (W.H.O) Club at Niles North. He has served as a volunteering team doctor for Niles North since 2009 and served as Commissioner of Human Relations at the Village of Skokie from 2012 to 2017. Dr. Ko is also the Chair of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White's Annual Family and Senior Health Fair (since 2009) and Board Advisor for the International Asian And American Association of Chicago. Dr. Ko was awarded Distinguished Alumnus of the Year from Niles North High School in 2013, Secretary of State Jesse White’s Outstanding Award of Recognition in Medicine in 2017 and was awarded the Korean American of the Year in 2018. Dr. Ko is a Level 1 Master Board Member.
Jill Manrique headshotJill Manrique
Vice President
Jill Manrique lives in Skokie with her three children (Caitlin, Patrick, and Colin). She grew up on the northwest side of Chicago in Norwood Park, not far from the district. Jill graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Art. Since then she's made her career in the nonprofit world, working for organizations like The Rotary Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Illinois, and now Open Communities. Her mission-driven career has had her advocating and fundraising for international causes that are concerns for us all, like nature, education, and fair housing.Outside of work hours Jill has traveled internationally to deliver aid to refugee camps in Greece and Serbia. She has raised awareness and dollars for refugee camps in 14 countries and helped maintain steady diaper deliveries to camps where mothers had been left to using one diaper a day for babies. Jill traveled to Texas to help end family separations and helped to organize a greater presence at the camp in Tornillo. When she got home, she organized a 300-person protest vigil in McHenry against ICE deportations. She also served two terms as the Vice President of Operations for the Chicago Rowing Union (CRU), the only LGBTQ rowing team in the midwest. She was a rower, coxswain, and coach for CRU, which practices out of the Dammrich Boat House in Skokie. As a strong believer in a women's right to healthcare access, Jill volunteers on the weekends at women's healthcare clinics in the area, escorting women safely from their cars to the clinic door.Jill has interned for both Illinois State Representatives and the Illinois Senate Democrats. In the last gubernatorial race, she was a Digital Fellow for Daniel Biss and kept up very closely with the Attorney General race. She held voting parties in her home and encouraged guests to register to vote if they hadn't (she is a voter registrar) and to not leave her house without a filled out voter plan. She managed an aldermanic race in Chicago and is working on projects in Skokie to keep our village affordable and accessible for everyone.

Jill and her family live in Skokie for all the reasons many others have chosen to be here. She wants her children to grow up in a place where diversity and inclusion are the norm. In her feeder district of 73.5, every block has something new to offer. Jill's love of community drives her to ask the hard questions and seek out all of the answers. As a District 219 Board Member, she will do the same. Jill knows that the health of the community is vested in the health of the schools and she promises to be a fierce advocate for our children and our schools.

Joseph Nowik headshotJoseph Nowik
Joseph Nowik is Director of Operations of a lighting manufacturing company in Chicago. A 34-year resident of Skokie and D219, he and his wife Graciela have two children. His son graduated in 2015 from Niles West and the Bridges program at Niles North in 2018. His daughter graduated from Niles West in 2017.

A lifetime resident of Chicagoland, Nowik attended Lane Technical High School and the University of Illinois Chicago. Nowik served for seven years on the Board of Directors of Have Dreams, a nonprofit that helps children with autism improve their abilities to learn, function independently and socialize so they may realize their full potential.

Nowik has served on the D219 board since July 2014.

James Specker headshotJames Specker
Secretary Pro Tem
James Specker, MBA, MIS, is a government affairs professional who currently serves as the National Director of Government and Industry Relations for the American Massage Therapy Association.Born and raised on the north side of Chicago, Specker and his family have lived in Skokie since 2015. He moved to the area with his wife Benita (who works in Sales), daughter Ashley (Graduate of Appalachian State University in Boone, NC) and daughter Maija (Attends Stariņš - Chicago Latvian Preschool in Skokie). He was drawn to Skokie for its diversity, the strong sense of community, and excellent quality of education within the schools.

Specker is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale and has received a Master’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s in Information Systems Management. He is a past recipient of the Association Forum of Chicagoland’s annual 40 Under 40 award given to outstanding association and non-profit professionals for their accomplishments, commitment to the industry, leadership skills and continued potential.

Naema Abraham HeadshotNaema Abraham
Board Member
Naema Abraham has been a resident of Skokie since 1979, and graduated from Niles North. She attended Northeastern University in Chicago, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Human Resources. Abraham has spent much of her career in payroll and human resources, but is also a certified Paraprofessional in Education. Currently, she manages payroll and human resource functions for a privately owned company in Skokie. She has one child, a daughter who is a student at Niles North and will graduate with the class of 2018. She is an avid runner, having started running for fitness 11 years ago.
Rebecca Abraham headshotRebecca Abraham
Board Member
Rebecca Abraham, RN, BSN, CCRN lives in Skokie with her husband, Dr. Anub Abraham, DO, and two children Miles, 5 and Mahalia, 2. Currently, Rebecca is a critical care nurse at Northwestern Medicine and is also a utilization,care management, and policy nurse for Amita Resurrection Hospital.Rebecca served her community as an elected Delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Rebecca was formerly a board member (2015-2018) at Chicago Center for Music Education, a non-profit music school that serves the Chicagoland area. Rebecca was also a board member (2015-2017) and former community advocate and government relations of WeWill (formerly Mom+Baby); the organization lobbied for women and family-friendly policies in Illinois. Rebecca is an active National Nurses United (NNU) member and organizer. She also currently serves on the Skokie Park District Outreach Committee, Skokie Family Services Commission and formerly the School District 73.5 Strategic Planning Committee.

Rebecca was awarded the 2015 Illinois Nurses Association 40 under 40 Leaders in Nursing Award and was a scholarship winner for the 2012 Nurse in Washington Lobbyist Internship.

Rebecca loves serving her community and is excited to serve the students, parents, teachers, staff and constituents of District 219.

Rich Evonitz headshotRich Evonitz
Board Member
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Rich has lived in Skokie since 1998 with his wife, Diana, and daughter, Taylor. His daughter is a graduate of Niles North, Class of 2016, and graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2020. Prior to his election in April 2017, Rich served on the East Prairie School District 73 Board of Education. He is an attorney who works in-house for a not-for-profit association in Oak Brook, and an avid runner and fitness enthusiast who plans to run the Berlin Marathon in 2020. Rich is a Level 1 Master Board Member.