Name: Aaron Casper
Address: 17140 Valley Road, Eden Prairie
Family: Wife, Lisa; children Carmen and Cecilia, seniors at Eden Prairie High School; Camille, a junior at Eden Prairie High School; and Chase, a fifth-grader at Eagle Heights
Employment: Employee Benefits Consultant
Education: B.A. in political science from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
- Retired Eden Prairie firefighter (10 years of service)
- Former finance chair, Eden Prairie Community Foundation
- Eden Prairie AM Rotary Club
- Eden Prairie youth sports coach (basketball and football)
- Grace Church Eden Prairie youth small group leader and men’s small group leader
- Operation Christmas Child Shoebox packing host
- Former city of Eden Prairie safety camp counselor
Why do you want to be on the Eden Prairie School Board?
I wish to serve all our students and their families. In my opinion, strong schools are the mainstay of a flourishing community, and Eden Prairie Schools is an excellent example. I feel I can leverage my 21 years of work experience in the public sector, primarily with Minnesota school districts, to the benefit of our Eden Prairie students and families.
What is your view of the state of the school district?
I believe Eden Prairie schools is in a great place as evidenced by the strong community support of the recently approved $39.9 million Designing Pathways project. With 70% voter approval, this project will provide the needed space to ensure parents of school-aged children residing in Eden Prairie will have the option to remain in the Eden Prairie community for their education.
What would be your top priorities as a School Board member?
If provided the opportunity to serve on the school board, my top priorities will be to first listen and learn from parents and district staff to better understand where continuous improvement opportunities exist in both the short-term and long-term. I also believe expanding the opportunity for those students that may not desire a traditional four-year college degree path is important. I will continue to focus on improving the achievement gap by engaging parents and creating a collaborative and strong parent, teacher, and student relationship. Finally, ensuring our district continues to remain fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of Eden Prairie.
What, if any, areas in the district budget should be adjusted?
At this point, I have not identified any areas of the budget that would need to be adjusted.
What should be done to address achievement gap?
I believe the district needs to continue to focus on affordable access to early childhood education and kindergarten readiness programs for all families that wish to take advantage of these opportunities. Early identification along with parent engagement by district staff is essential to meet the needs of at-risk students. Individual learning plans along with continued engagement should be the goal.
What skills should be added or emphasized in classrooms to educate students for a 21st-century career or workplace?
In addition to the typical college preparation Eden Prairie Schools is known for, I would like to see specific curriculum and opportunities available for students interested in the various trades.
How should Eden Prairie Schools ensure the safety of its students?
The district should continue to incorporate best practices for the safety of students and staff while ideally not distracting from the student learning environment. Continued emphasis on secure buildings as well as personal engagement with all students should be a priority.
Have you ever been charged with a gross misdemeanor or higher, or been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy or foreclosure?
Getting to know you
Favorite movie: "The Shawshank Redemption"
Favorite book: "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien
Last live show or concert you attended: Pink Martini with the Minnesota Orchestra
Favorite subject in school: History, I thoroughly enjoy reading and learning about historical events
What would be the title of your life story: “Kindness, Perseverance, and Charity can go a long way”
Dream vacation destination: Scuba diving in Thailand
Favorite local business: The PROP Shop