D219 School Board race takes shape


In anticipation of D219’s school board’s April 6 election, seven candidates running have already hit the campaign trail, each asserting their own vision for a better school district and explaining why they would be the most efficacious representative to make that vision a reality.

In an effort to familiarize the community with the candidates, NNPAC & NWPAC will present a D219 School Board 2021 Candidate Forum via Zoom at 7 pm on February 11. Niles North and Niles West students will serve as moderators.

The forum will showcase the positions of incumbents Naema Abraham, Richard Evonitz, and Joseph S. Nowik. Meanwhile, Kathleen W. Boyle, Elana Jacobs, Irena Petryk, and Ross Sawyers will also participate, joining the board for the first time if elected.

The current D219 School Board officials had a chaotic year in terms of public relations. For instance, in July 2020 when the board considered removing police officers from all its premises, Skokie police representative Damon Nikolopoulos signaled that the department would no longer respond to emergency calls for any reason at D219 facilities if the district authority decided to do so. The board did not go through with the idea of removing SRO’s from the district, yet community members are still watching this decision closely.

In November, the board formally voted on a resolution to discourage school board vice president Jill Manrique from using her social media to signal support regarding the removal of police officers from schools, the Black Lives Matter movement, and decriminalizing sex workers.

Board president David Ko stated that Manrique’s views are not representative of the entire board’s positions. As a result, a few activists protested outside district offices early that month in her support.

During a recent January press conference, board representatives alongside Superintendent Dr. Steven Isoye faced an onslaught of racism-related criticism from local families and former faculty.

“The D219 board must acknowledge the harm you [sic] have caused,” a district parent told the Daily Northwestern

Complaints castigated the three-school system on the grounds of fostering a discriminatory environment, even after D219 released multiple statements condemning racism over the course of this year.

Evidently, candidates debating in the NN/NWPAC’s student-moderated forum will have no shortage of pressing matters to discuss, and even more tough decisions to make upon entering office. The event may be viewed here via Zoom starting at 7 pm on Feb. 11.


Next edition: look for printed interviews from each candidate for the D219 school board.