Mounds View ISD 621: School board election 2023

Mounds View commencement
The commencement ceremony for the Mounds View High School class of 2010 Monday, June 7, at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul.
MPR Photo/Tom Weber

Mounds View School District serves the cities of Arden Hills, Mounds View, New Brighton, North Oaks, Roseville, Shoreview and Vadnais Heights.

A total of 11 candidates — including three incumbents — are running for four open seats on the board. Current board member Sandra Westerman is not running for reelection.

MPR News emailed each candidate in this race and asked them questions about their qualifications, priorities and the most critical issue their district faces. The following responses were edited for length and clarity to provide a closer look at each candidate’s priorities if elected as a board member.

Heidi Caccamo

  • Caccamo has not responded to MPR News as of Oct. 25.

  • “I am passionate about educating our children and fostering academic achievement by ensuring that each student receives the highest quality education and learning opportunities. As a parent with 3 children in the district, like many parents, I am concerned about the direction of MVSD,” Caccamo told League of Women Voters.

  • Academic achievement, school safety and parental and community involvement are Caccamo’s top priorities, she told League of Women Voters.

  • Caccamo participated in the League of Women Voters forum on Oct. 2.

Alissa Daire Nelson

  • Nelson has not responded to MPR News as of Oct. 25.

  • “I am passionate about supporting our next generation to success. I have 2 children enrolled in the district, but my authentic care and concern is for all children and staff to succeed. I come to the table not as the ‘best’ candidate, but as a team player ready to work with the other board members,” Nelson told League of Women Voters.

  • Increasing access and funding for mental health resources, supporting staff and inclusive, complete curriculum would be Nelson’s top priorities if elected, she told League of Women Voters.

  • Nelson participated in the League of Women Voters forum on Oct. 2.

Heidi Danielson (current board member)

  • “I have served on the Mounds View school board for the last four years and feel called to continue the work supporting the staff and administration in our schools and programs across the district,” Danielson told MPR News.

  • “While other goals and objectives will be identified each year, we need to continue to focus on helping students fill learning gaps, supporting the growing mental health needs of our students and ensuring that each student in our district is given the opportunity to succeed and belong in our schools,” Danielson said.

  • Danielson participated in the League of Women Voters forum on Oct. 2.

Jim DeMay (current board member)

  • “I am running for re-election to provide an excellent public education for all students. I have been a strong advocate for public education in our community through leadership positions in the school bond and levy campaigns and the MV school foundation board. My children and I are all graduates of the Mounds View Public Schools,” DeMay told MPR News.

  • DeMay said funding for classrooms is the most critical issue the district faces. “We need to retain strong teaching and support staff to educate our students. Instruction must remain the top budget priority,” DeMay said.  

  • DeMay participated in the League of Women Voters forum on Oct. 2.

Mark Kelliher

  • Kelliher has not responded to MPR News as of Oct. 25.

  • “My background in finance is extensive and for most of my career I served in the capacity of a fiduciary, someone who makes decisions solely for the benefit of the client. I will employ this same discipline towards any decision I make as a school board member. Those decisions will be made looking through the lens of what is best for the individual student,” Kelliher told League of Women Voters.

  • Academic achievement, an introduction of industrial arts and community involvement are Kelliher’s top priorities if elected as a board member, he told League of Women Voters.

  • Kelliher participated in the League of Women Voters forum on Oct. 2.

Andre M. Koen

  • Koen has not responded to MPR News as of Oct. 25.

  • Koen participated in the League of Women Voters forum on Oct. 2.

Art Mills

  • Mills has not responded to MPR News as of Oct. 25.

  • Mills said declining academic achievement, a need for a district-wide cell phone use policy, and school safety are topics he would focus on if elected, according to League of Women Voters.

Rich Priore

  • Priore has not responded to MPR News as of Oct. 25.

  • Priore participated in the League of Women Voters forum on Oct. 2.

Jon VanOeveren has suspended his campaign.

Jonathan Weinhagen (current board member)

  • Weinhagen has been board chair for five years and has been a member of the board since 2014. “We are facing serious challenges; academic learning loss, equity, mental health and safety. I hope to continue to bring my experience as a school board member and business leader to the next generation of our work,” he told MPR News.

  • Weinhagen said Mounds View needs to make progress on many fronts, including academics, equity, safety, mental health, enrollment and fiscal health.

Paul Wikstrom

  • Declined an email interview with MPR News.

  • Wikstrom participated in the League of Women Voters forum on Oct. 2.

Watch: League of Women Voters forum

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