Name: Aaron Orwick
Address: 9769 Emerson Court, Eden Prairie
Family: Spouse Lisa; children Ella (first grade), Adam (first grade) and Alex (pre-K)
Employment: Director data engineering, data sciences – Target Corporation
Education: MBA and BBA from the University of North Dakota
Current involvement: Eden Prairie Baseball Association – coach, Good Company Brewing – fundraising volunteer
Previous involvement: FamilyWise – volunteer coordinator, Edison High School – eMentor for junior and senior students
Previous experience: First time School Board candidate
Why do you want to be on the Eden Prairie School Board?
Inspiration to run for the School Board comes from two places for me, my dad and my kids. My dad was on the School Board when I was growing up in North Dakota. He has shared his experiences with my three siblings and me, instilling a sense of community involvement and gratitude for being able to serve our community while the four of us were young. My wife and I have two kids in the district already and our youngest will be entering in a couple of years. Our family will be an active part of Eden Prairie Schools for the next 15 years, and I cannot think of a better way to give back to all the students of the district and the larger community of Eden Prairie than sharing my experiences on the School Board.
What is your view of the state of the school district?
When Lisa and I started looking for a city to settle down in over 10 years ago, we looked all around the metro. We knew there were several great cities to choose from but one of the most important factors for us was to find a home with really strong schools. Eden Prairie and the schools continued to rise to the top of our list and we were thrilled to move into the community. After having our oldest two children in the district for the past year, I can say we are absolutely delighted with our experience and the district. In my opinion the district has a very strong foundation and has benefited from multiple years of great leadership. The district also enjoys tremendous support from the wider community of Eden Prairie which is something that should be continually fostered.
What would be your top priorities as a School Board member?
- Successful implementation of the Designing Pathways referendum − maximize the investment the community has made in our students and schools.
- Continued focus on personalized learning within the district. Businesses have been working towards more personalized experiences for their customers for many years based on the shifting demographics and needs of our population. Extending that into our schools for the benefits of our students makes a lot of sense.
- Conduct a study on expanding the elementary school offerings of the district. Our family has really enjoyed Spanish immersion as an option and with the changing dynamics of our global economy, I would anticipate something like STEM studies could be of high value.
What, if any, areas in the district budget should be adjusted?
The district budget looks appropriate for the priorities that have been set.
What should be done to address achievement gap?
The personalized learning program is a great start in the right direction. Understanding what each student needs to achieve their potential rather than taking a one size fits all approach is crucial. Utilizing the approach from the engineering field, a continued feedback loop of evaluating, learning, and adjustments to the program will be important for it to be successful and address the achievement gap as quickly as possible.
What skills should be added or emphasized in classrooms to educate students for a 21st-century career or workplace?
We already operate in an ever-changing global economy. In the future, it will become even more critical to be a global citizen and have the ability to quickly adapt to change in order to be successful in a modern-day workplace. In the technology/data sciences industry I work in, some of the tools we utilize to do our jobs didn’t even exist five years ago and now they are just the norm. We also function as a global team, with members scattered throughout the U.S. and India. Skills I look for when adding to my team today are effective communication, multi-lingual capabilities, working well in a diverse team, critical thinking, and problem solving. Many of these are already educational focus areas for the district and will only increase in industry importance over time.
How should Eden Prairie Schools ensure the safety of its students?
Safety and security needs should be continually monitored, assessed, and tested to ensure the best possible outcomes. As part of the recent referendum, additional safety measures were approved to be implemented by the Eden Prairie community. As this new functionality is integrated with the existing safety and security measures continual assessments and testing should be conducted to confirm everything is working as expected. Emotional safety is also very important for students to create a constructive learning environment. Ensuring that faculty maintains the mission of inspiring each student should create positive connections where each individual feels valued.
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 book or movie: "Christmas Vacation"
Last live show or concert you attended: "Guys and Dolls" at the Guthrie
Favorite subject in school: Strategic management as part of my MBA
What would be the title of your life story?
“Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” I realize this saying isn’t astronomically correct, and is kind of cliche, but the spirit of it is something I have always lived my life by. Set big goals, work hard, try out new things, continually learn. Sometimes you land exactly where you set out to go but more often you don’t, but you gain experiences and life lessons that are even more valuable
Dream vacation destination: Hawaii is on my bucket list of travel destinations, but there is something truly magical about sitting around a lakeside campfire with friends and family on a warm Minnesota summer night
Favorite local business: Family favorite restaurants are Tavern 4&5 or Original Pancake House (parents’ choices based on time of day), Kyoto Sushi (Ella’s choice) and Old Chicago (Adam and Alex’s choice). Somehow the kids usually win, except on Saturday morning