Andrew Caplan announced as new president
Board of Education sought replacement after predecessor resigned
After previous Park City Board of Education President Julie Eihausen suddenly announced she was resigning last month, members had to look among themselves and choose a leader. They unanimously selected Andrew Caplan.
Caplan joined the Board last January. While he does not have a background working in education, he has worked with the Park City Education Foundation since moving to Park City five years ago. He serves on the nonprofit’s executive board and manages the fund’s endowment, which he will continue to do as Board president.
After seeing what programs the foundation funded, his interest in becoming involved with Park City’s education grew.
“From there, I started becoming a bit more knowledgeable about how the district works, how the programs are funded and how decisions are made around a budget,” he said.
While the direction of the district is not yet set, Caplan’s number one goal is to listen, discuss and then start setting district-wide goals.
“It’s really our job to reflect our community’s values, and that’s what we are trying to key in on right now,” he said. “So, my priority right now is to listen. To make sure we are aligned with community and make sure we are listening and continuing the work that’s already been done.”
The main reason Caplan originally joined the Park City Board of Education was because, as a parent, he wanted to see more transparency, and he feels that sentiment throughout the community.
“Once my daughter was headed into kindergarten, I decided that I wanted to be more involved and have a leadership role in the direction of the district,” he said.
That transparency was one of the motives behind the recent strategic planning meeting, which Caplan was a major proponent of, along with other Board members. They felt it was time to address the miscommunication that partly led to a school bond being voted down two years ago and another bond measure this year that had major opposition.
“It was an acknowledgement that the school Board and the district have struggled since 2015 when the bond was defeated,” he said. “It would be a bit foolish to continue trying the same things again and again when we know that they’re not going to work.”
In his nine months on the Board, Caplan has learned a lot about the school system from his colleagues and the community, and hopes to continue learning.
While the district has nationally-ranked schools, rising test scores and one of the highest graduation rates in the state, there is always more room to grow, he said.
“I think we have the tools as a district to be even more successful than we’ve already been,” he said. “We have a wonderful community with very high expectations, so while we’ve done very well … there is still always going to be a demand for excellence from our community.”
Caplan hopes to meet those expectations to the best of his and the Board’s ability, but he also understands that it is hard to please everyone.
“What I’ve learned in education is there isn’t necessarily a right and a wrong, there is good execution,” he said. “There are a lot of different ways to teach kids. All kids learn differently. There are a lot of different ways to set up our schools and our curriculum. If we have good execution, our kids are going to be successful and learn.”
The Board is currently accepting applications for the open Board member position that will be vacated by Julie Eihausen in February. The Board is set to hold information sessions this month before applications are due on Nov. 2.
A Park City High School senior facing 18 criminal charges admitted to releasing pepper spray in the school’s lecture hall last month to prevent a conservative school club from hosting an event.