Board Member Bios

Member Bios
Naema Abraham HeadshotNaema Abraham
Naema Abraham is an Assyrian immigrant who came to the United States in 1974 with her family from Syria, and has been a resident of Niles Township since 1979. She attended Northeastern University in Chicago, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree. Naema Abraham is a certified Human Resources Professional and currently works as a Totals Rewards Manager at a privately owned company in Skokie, Illinois. Naema is also a certified paraprofessional in education.She has one child, a daughter who graduated from Niles North in 2018 and is now a senior at Marquette University in Milwaukee. Naema and her three siblings also graduated from Niles North, and she currently has several family members who attend D219 schools.Naema was first elected to the D219 Board of Education in 2017 and re-elected in 2021.

Vice President

Joseph Nowik headshotJoseph Nowik
Joseph Nowik is Director of Operations of a manufacturing company in Chicago. A resident of Skokie, Niles Township and D219 since 1986, 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. Two of those years serving as Board President of Have Dreams.Nowik has served on the D219 Board of Education since July 2014. He has served in the capacity of Vice President and Secretary during his tenure on the D219 Board. Winning re-election in 2021, Nowik, is again looking forward to serving the students and community of Niles Township. Nowik has attained the Master Board Member designation as defined by IASB.

Secretary Pro Tem

David Ko headshotDavid Ko
Board Member
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
Board Member
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.
Elana Jacobs headshotElana Jacobs
Board Member
Elana Jacobs, MEd, is a special ed/ science/ ESL classroom teacher in Chicago (with a residency waiver). Elana, a proven transformative educator with over 10 years in the public school system, builds communities that she participates in and finds ways to bring diverse voices to a single cause. She has a Master's degree in Education Instructional Leadership from UIC. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science and Outdoor Education from Hampshire College.Elana builds communities through her leadership of co-founding a mutual aid group in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Suburban Solidarity Network, which focuses on resource distribution, education, and grassroots political action. She has been a commissioner on the Skokie Consumer Affairs committee and local community volunteer for numerous organizations.Elana unites diverse perspectives behind common causes. As a SEED participant (anti-racist training), Elana has learned how to understand and implement equity amongst a diverse community. She is a member of the Illinois LGBT education task force that helps implement the law to teach LGBT history in K-12 schools. She serves as a media spokesperson for LGBT issues in the Chicago Teachers Union.In Elana’s free time she runs triathlons and hangs out with her precocious pit bulls. Elana and her wife Helen, reside in Skokie, IL. Elana helps raise lots of children, and she knows her experience helps make her a fair, empathetic person to tackle problems and solutions in the Niles Township School Community.
Mateo Mohammad Farzaneh headshotMateo Mohammad Farzaneh
Board Member
An Iranian native, Mateo Farzaneh attended high school and college in southern California. After spending seven years in nursing and health care industries, his curiosity led him to pursue a higher education in history. He is quadrilingual, speaking Persian, English, Spanish, and Arabic. Recipient of a number of prestigious awards and fellowships, he taught world and Middle Eastern history at Santa Barbara City College and California State Fullerton before joining NEIU’s History faculty in 2010. Dr. Farzaneh and his family reside in Lincolnwood.