June 11, 2024
To recognize, honor, and celebrate the late John S. “Jack” Koczela for his outstanding work and
public service.
WHEREAS, Mr. Koczela was a lifelong District of Columbia and longtime Palisades
resident, and a graduate of Wilson High School, now Jackson-Reed High School, where his
mother ran the book room and was a substitute teacher, he was quarterback, and led a group
providing tutoring to elementary school students across the city and while a student there met his
lifelong love and partner in community activism Julie Balkam Koczela;
WHEREAS, Mr. Koczela was a tireless advocate for the District of Columbia;
WHEREAS, Mr. Koczela earned his BA in History from American University, as a
student he worked as the head of a new office of Word Processing and then immediately after
graduation to serve as Executive Director of Admissions, Financial Aid and Veteran’s Affairs;
WHEREAS, Mr. Koczela served as Senior Vice President to the National Housing
Partnership, one of the largest providers of low- and moderate-income housing in the nation;
WHEREAS, Mr. Koczela went on to work in the asset management and financial
services industry in the United States and Denmark, closing what were at the time the two largest
multi-property real estate transactions in Scandinavian history;
WHEREAS, while pursuing his active career and in his retirement, Mr. Koczela was a
passionate and effective advocate on behalf of all of the residents of District of Columbia as well
as specifically for the communities in which he resided over the years, prominent among them,
McLean Gardens and Palisades;
WHEREAS, in 1979, Mr. Koczela served as Chairman of the McLean Gardens Residents
Association, worked with neighbors, including Phil Mendelson, to complete one of the earliest
and largest at the time tenant purchase of a rental property – the $25 million purchase of McLean
WHEREAS, Mr. Koczela was appointed in 2002 by Mayor Anthony Williams, and later
appointed by Mayors Adrian Fenty, Vincent C. Gray, and Muriel Bowser to the District of
Columbia’s Recreational Trail Advisory Committee;
WHEREAS, Mr. Koczela also chaired the Capital Trails Coalition, an organization with
the goal of achieving a world-class network of multi-use trails with equity at its center within the
Washington metropolitan area;
WHEREAS, in the fall of 2002, Mr. Koczela founded Prop 100, an organization
dedicated to rebuilding and modernizing District of Columbia public schools and was a fierce
advocate for school modernizations across the District, eventually playing an important role in
ushering the District’s massive investment in school modernizations;
WHEREAS, Mr. Koczela led efforts to secure increased autonomy and a pathbreaking
modernization of his alma mater Wilson High School, now Jackson-Reed High School;
WHEREAS, in 2008 Mr. Koczela co-founded DC Batter Up!, a non-profit organization
that promotes youth baseball and softball in the District, and provides scholarships each spring to
student athletes who require financial assistance to attend college;
WHEREAS, in 2019 the organization renamed the scholarship the DC Batter Up! Jack
Koczela scholarship, in a show of characteristic community spirit, after his passing, the family
urged people wishing to honor Jack’s life to contribute to the scholarship fund;
WHEREAS, Mr. Koczela’s deep commitment to youth sports led him to be a forceful
advocate for the creation of State Championship Tournaments in the District of Columbia with
the baseball championship finals initially played at National’s Park;
WHEREAS, in 2000, Mr. Koczela created the Vincent E. Reed Award for Excellence in
Teaching at his alma mater, Wilson High School, now Jackson-Reed High School, named after
the Principal at the time he was a student there and who went on to be the first Black
Superintendent of DCPS;
WHEREAS, Mr. Koczela was an early advocate to rename Wilson High School after Mr.
Reed given Woodrow Wilson’s record of treatment of African Americans in the District of
Columbia and Mr. Reed’s accomplishments;
WHEREAS, the school was eventually renamed Jackson-Reed in honor of Edna Jackson,
an African American teacher at the school, and Mr. Reed;
WHEREAS, Mr. Koczela was a mentor and friend to many advocates in the District of
Columbia, including Ward 3 Councilmember Matt Frumin and Chairman Phil Mendelson;
WHEREAS, Mr. Koczela passed away on November 8, 2022;
WHEREAS, Mr. Koczela is survived by his wife Julie, their children, Luke and Tracy,
and their spouses, grandson Will, 5 siblings, and dozens of nieces and nephews.
resolution may be cited as the “John S. “Jack” Koczela Posthumous Recognition Resolution of
Sec. 2. The Council of the District of Columbia recognizes, honors, and celebrates John
S. “Jack” Koczela for his considerable contributions and activism throughout the District.
Sec. 3. This resolution shall take effect immediately.