Finding creative methods of teaching can create bridges in life and politics.

 

Dominic Caserta graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory school and then accepted an offer to further his education at Santa Clara University. In 1997, he graduated with his Bachelor of Science with a major in Political Science and a minor in American History as the Magna-Cum Laude of his class. The knowledge gained through this education provided Caserta with the skills he needed to pursue his career in education.

Following his graduation, Caserta began his teaching career in the Social Science Department at Aquinas High School in San Bernardino. He volunteered his time as the Kairos Spiritual Director and coached basketball and baseball. In time, he began to miss his hometown which led him to take a position at the Santa Clara High School. There he taught AP Government and Politics, Economics, and Civics courses. In 2010, Dominic was 1 of 3 teachers to awarded the distinguished James Madison memorial fellowship to become an expert on the U.S. Constitution. Caserta also served as a representative and senior advisor at the United Teachers of Santa Clara Union. Taking on additional roles further enhanced the joy that Caserta felt by serving his students and peers.

While teaching at Santa Clara High School, he pursued his Secondary Teaching Credentials from Santa Clara University and graduated with honors. Following this accomplishment he decided to run for the Santa Clara City Council. In 2002, he was elected to seat 2. In 2006, he was re-elected. His success encouraged him to strive for more. In 2008, he ran for the California State Assembly for District 22, but came in second place. However, Caserta did not give up. In 2014, he was elected to seat number 5 of the Santa Clara City Council. Caserta proudly served his community with determination which lead to one of his prized accomplishments of raising the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour.

Dominic Caserta has continued to excel in everything he does. In 2009, he attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Here, he participated in the State and Local Officials Executive Program. He now holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from San Francisco State University. The principles he learned and education he received has allowed Caserta to continue to build upon his foundation of service, and love of accomplishment on behalf of others.

After a successful teaching career, spanning 21 years, Dominic now teaches Political Science at San Francisco State University. Dominic Caserta, proud father and husband and member of the Santa Clara community. He continues to look forward to creating and engaging in new ways to serve Santa Clara, while sharing his dreams and time with his family.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I have always had a love of learning. While I was growing up, I always had a high level of respect and a personal connection with my teachers from kindergarten to college level. It gave me a lot of reason and motivation to share the same enthusiasm for learning with the next generation.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

On most days, I arrive at the school by 7 in the morning. I occasionally meet with students before school. When I am teaching at the colleges, I may see more than 500 students during the period of the day. It is important to me to keep learning fun and engaging, so I do not have to spend my day standing in front of the room providing a lecture. I enjoy organizing group activities, using YouTube videos and other interactive media. I believe it is important to cater to every student’s unique style of learning.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I bring ideas to life by making it practical by engaging, discussing, and sharing. For example, if there are political debates, we watch them as a class. If the president delivers the State of the Union address, we will share and discuss it.

What’s one trend that excites you?

When I first started teaching I had to use an overhead projector and slides to share information. Now, I am able to present almost anything for my class from many different sources. This wealth of information that is available at our fingertips is invaluable and is one trend that is very exciting to me!

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

When I first started teaching I had to use an overhead projector and slides to share information. Now, I am able to present almost anything for my class from many different sources. This wealth of information that is available at our fingertips is invaluable and is one trend that is very exciting to me!

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself to slow down and enjoy living in each moment more. As the oldest child I have always been the first to do things – the trailblazer in our family. That has often kept me from stopping to see the beauty around me, or just being grateful for what I have. I believe if I had done so sooner in life, I would have found more joy to share alongside my passions.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I would tell myself to slow down and enjoy living in each moment more. As the oldest child I have always been the first to do things – the trailblazer in our family. That has often kept me from stopping to see the beauty around me, or just being grateful for what I have. I believe if I had done so sooner in life, I would have found more joy to share alongside my passions.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Your physical health is as important as anything else in life. It is vital to set a schedule and stick to it like you would a doctor or a dental appointment. Making sure to meet that appointment three to five times a week will do wonderful things for your mental and physical health.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Meditation and stretching help me to keep my thoughts calm and relaxed. This gives me the perspective I need to accomplish my day.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I ran for State Assembly. Out of a group of four on the ballet for that year, I came in second. Initially, I was disappointed to lose that race. Instead of viewing it as a loss and allowing it to limit me, I stayed positive by thinking about people like Presidents Obama and Bush, who had also experienced losses before great success.. This election became a delayed success instead of a failure. The next time I ran for office, I was elected and I’m looking forward to more opportunities to serve the people around me.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

It would be fantastic if someone could create a way for students to interact socially, connecting with other students in other locations in real time, during class. This virtual classroom would really create pathways for students to grow and learn from one another.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

That is very easy. I have a three year old son and I’m absolutely a doting dad. We recently celebrated his birthday. I purchased him a few books, a tennis racket, and of course, some Warriors Gear. I’m going to get him indoctrinated right from the start.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I use YouTube in the classroom all the time. It allows me to pick specific moments in history and bring them alive in the classroom. It doesn’t matter if I want to share a speech from FDR or another moment in history.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“The Art of Happiness” written by the Dalai Lama. It does a great job explaining how important it is to be in the moment and to have compassion for others. It provides insight and a deeper understanding on the topic of all people wanting to live a happy and fulfilling life.

What is your favorite quote?

“Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy, from his inauguration speech.

Key Learnings:

  • Always have a drive to serve the community
  • Possess a love of learning and a passion to share it with the world
  • Finding creative methods of teaching can create bridges in life and politics
  • Doing what you love to the best of your ability always provides joy and drive to continue
  • Cultivate a humble attitude and desire to serve and it will serve you well all of your life