Annual Report

Download Report

Executive Director Statement
Racing to Justice: Seizing the Moment of Truth

By Carlos Mariani Rosa

2020 brought our nation and state the greatest challenges in modern times. A dangerous global pandemic alters the conventional way in which schools and colleges provide learning opportunities from an in-person classroom delivery model to a distance, virtual platform approach.

Our Theory of Change


Advancing essential anti-racist education policies in the places and in the processes where key decisions are made.


Developing and advancing practices that promote race equity and educational excellence in all education settings.

Resource Flows & Knowledge

Leading research initiatives and policy analysis to develop, advance, and distribute the wisdom and knowledge from racially diverse and culturally inclusive perspectives.

Networks, Relationships, & Connections

Building essential relationships and partnerships with communities, educational institutions, students and educators to advance race equity in education.

Power Dynamics

Developing collaborative, liberating, community-led envisioning engagements and organizing where people of color and American Indian communities can design and advance their plans for educational excellence.

Mental Models

Shifting the way people understand racism and race equity through professional development and advocacy campaigns that advance understanding, empathy, and racial justice.

Our Big Bold Goals

BBG #1: Leading with a Race Equity Lens

Minnesota educational leaders and cultural communities create equitable education systems, structures, and public narratives.

In 2019-2020, MnEEP:

Provided race equity skill-building to district superintendents

The MnEEP Superintendent Race Equity Leadership Network gathered superintendents to build a strong network of school leaders focused on race equity skill development.

MnEEP is proud to partner with the Courageous Leadership Institute of Mankato State University to share best practice “will and skill-building” tactics around race equity leadership skills proven to build stronger, equitable, and more resilient school communities.

Provided race equity plan development for schools

MnEEP provided equity research and facilitation for Avalon Schools to develop equity-centered strategic vision, plan through Fall of 2019. The process involved engaging the full staff and leadership on key questions related to equity, mission, vision, and value statements.

Created online Town Hall Forums to respond to immediate student and community education challenges during the COVID pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic crisis shut down schools and colleges,MnEEP quickly pivoted to conducting virtual Town Halls in order to engage communities, students and educators on the new equity challenges posed by Distance Learning. MnEEP simimilarly engaged on the themes of “Black Lives Matter”in response to the murder of George Floyd.

Provided analysis of race equity for the State of Minnesota’s Distance Learning strategy and plans

MnEEP provided analysis on race equity in education as a part of the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Distance Learning advisory taskforce and the Governor’s education roundtable. MnEEP co-created a race equity and Distance Learning coalition that actively highlighted racial equity concerns to state leadership and MDE.

BBG #2: Building Human Dignity in Schools

Minnesota educational systems are designed to bring students of color and American Indian students into relationships with schools and teachers that promote their human dignity.

In 2019-2020, MnEEP:

Launched the MN School Climate Institute

MnEEP completed our first full session of the MN School Climate Institute in partnership with Hamline University providing technical assistance and coaching to assist school communities in implementing an equity-minded theory of change regarding discipline disparities in Minnesota schools.

The participants, across districts and networks, focused on understanding and using Critical Race Theory (CRT) analysis to assess current discipline policies and practices. The Institute had 50 registrants across five districts/school networks.

Developed the MnEEP Justice in Education Toolkit

At the beginning of 2020, MnEEP launched the Justice in Education Toolkit, a website designed to bring awareness to discipline disparities and disproportionality in special education designation and to provide tools and advocacy resources for parents, educators, advocates and students working to end punitive, expulsion-based student discipline and other practices in education that cause racial harm.

Developed School Climate Framework Tool for school districts

In partnership with Sankore Consulting and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) MnEEP established a School Climate Advisory Council to review and provide feedback on the school district reports submitted in conjunction with the MDHR Diversion Projects. In the absence of State initiative, the Council developed an Equity Based School Climate Framework to be used as a guide and evaluation tool for measuring school district success with change.

Prepared new leaders: School Climate Network (SCN)

MnEEP relaunched our School Climate Network as an initiative to focus on, and operationalize the policy recommendations from MnEEP’s Excluded policy brief on disability and racism. The Network is focused on providing a safe, liberating space for educators and advocates to grow, learn, share around racial equity in schools and classrooms.

The SCN focuses on awareness and advocacy for closing racial disparities on student discipline and special education designation.

BBG #3: Culturally Responsive Teaching & Learning

Minnesota educational systems advance racially and culturally responsive teaching and learning environments for teachers and students.

In 2019-2020, MnEEP’s TeachMN20/20 Initiative:

Developed collaborations and held statewide convenings to strengthen the teaching profession including addressing teacher diversity

  • MnEEP convened a policy forum in collaboration with the Coalition to Increase Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers, the State Ethnic Councils, and Minnesota Humanities Center, on proposed state legislation to create and retain a racially diverse teacher workforce.
  • MnEEP held a major, statewide public discussion in Marshall, Minnesota featuring Governor Tim Walz, in collaboration with Minnesota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE) on teacher shortage and teacher diversity, especially in Greater Minnesota.
  • MnEEP held an online stakeholder convening, in collaboration with the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB), to gather feedback on rulemaking for the State’s new standards governing teacher preparation for beginning teachers.

Strengthened the capacity of educators and systems statewide for race equity

  • MnEEP designed and conducted teacher professional development training on cultural competency required for state teacher relicensure.
  • MnEEP engaged educators in sharing experiences and perspectives in a virtual series on “Strengthening the Profession Amid a Pandemic”.
  • MnEEP designed and developed, in partnership with PELSB, a tool for understanding the new state tiered licensure system to be hosted within

Built powerful partnerships to lead teacher diversity

MnEEP worked with Generation Next and Education First in a Teacher Diversity Leadership Group, composed of teacher preparation program leaders and human resource leaders in the Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools, to hold online sessions to strategize individual and collective actions toward improved partnership in supporting teacher diversity efforts. One concrete plan forward is to demystify the hiring and onboarding process for teacher candidates of color with culturally accessible tools on MnEEP’s site.

BBG #4: Supporting and Advancing Multilingualism

Minnesota educational leaders embrace the language and culture of each student, and value the home language of Black, Latino, Indigenous, and Asian students as vital for their academic success.

In 2019-2020, MnEEP:

Convened a bi-monthly Emerging Multilingual Learners (EML) Network to engage in collaborative conversations on how to best serve and support EMLs.

The conversations with EML advocates and leaders developed into gathering and sharing best practices across schools, districts, and systems throughout Minnesota and the nation. The collaborative conversations helped to build greater clarity around the need for a statewide policy advocacy agenda for EMLs centered on race equity and excellence in education.

Developed statewide policy agenda to serve English Learners and Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE)

The network developed a robust, statewide policy advocacy agenda, in partnership with communities, P-20 partners, and state agencies, to advance the prioritization of increasing funding and accountability for schools and districts who serve English Learners (ELs) throughout the state of Minnesota.

EML Network members from across Minnesota provided input, offered feedback, and developed a state legislative policy agenda that formed the core of MnEEP’s policy advocacy in BBG #4 for 2019-20.

Began development of an EML toolkit to support ELs, SLIFE, and EMLs

The MnEEP EML Toolkit will be used by educators, leaders of educators, and programs, advocates, and families of ELs, SLIFE learners, and EMLs. The toolkit will be an essential resource designed to advance multilingualism, promote an asset-based approach to native language learners, and result in greater academic success and advocacy for EMLs statewide.

The EML Toolkit will be launched in 2021.

BBG #5: Higher Ed Access & Equity

Minnesota higher education systems are transformed to be racially just, responsive, and accessible for students of color and American Indian students.

In 2019-2020, the MnEEP Research Collaborative Table (RCT):

Collaborated with thought leaders to develop and advance racially equitable higher education policy

The RCT convened on a monthly basis to engage in collaborative conversations centered on the intersection of race equity and best practices in research, evaluation, and assessment across the state’s educational continuum for students Pre-K through college

Each RCT member provided key insights on the “MN Race Equity College Completion Project” funded by the Joyce Foundation . As a network, the RCT guided multiple projects in 2019-2020, forming the cornerstone of MnEEP’s research-based foundation for supporting, developing, and advancing racially equitable policy advocacy in higher education.

Researched and published “Reducing Racial Disparities in College Completion: The Case for an Equitable Higher Education Financial Aid System in Minnesota”

The MnEEP policy brief used a race equity lens to discover new ways to transform Minnesota’s statewide higher education systems to better serve and support POCI students to complete college with a degree.

The Brief powerfully makes the case for transforming the Minnesota State Grant Student Aid program through a series of specific recommendations targeting the delivery of a) equitable financial aid resources, b) counseling services, and c) workforce-related support to POCI students seeking to complete college with the attainment of a degree.

Created the MnEEP College Race Equity Advocacy Advisory Council (CREAAC) to drive a statewide, race equity policy advocacy agenda.

Focused on the power of collective action, the CREAAC includes systems, institutional, and community leaders from across the PreK-20 spectrum to advance the MnEEP policy advocacy agenda centered on the equitable treatment of POCI in higher education into the 2021 Minnesota Legislative Session.

MnEEP Team

Carlos Mariani-Rosa

Executive Director

Jennifer Godinez

Associate Executive Director
Program Director, Race Equity and Excellence in Education Network

Dr. Rose Wan-Mui Chu

Senior Policy Fellow, TeachMN20/20 Initiative

Dr. Lanise Block

School Climate Consultant, Sankore Consulting

Leiataua Dr. Jon Peterson

Program Consultant

Nan Yurecko

Superintendent Race Equity Network Consultant

Yvette Massey

Administrative Manager

Gabriella Cinquini

Communications Project Coordinator


Scott Cole

Pete Knippenberg
Tech Inc

Steve Paprocki and Jo Seton
Access Philanthropy

Molly Priesmeyer
Good Work Group

Jordan Strowder

Kirsten Wedes
Graphic Designer

Karen Kopacz
Design For The Arts

Edwin Schenk
Abstract Pigeon Design


Our Board


Muneer Karcher-Ramos
Chair; Director Office of Financial Empowerment

Dr. Bernadeia Johnson
Vice-Chair; Faculty Minnesota State University Mankato

Dr. Rev PM Crowley Hillstrom
At Large; Director of Educational Equity, Osseo Area Schools

Tricia Wilkinson
At Large; University of Minnesota

Anne Carroll
Treasurer; Community Member, St. Paul

Leann Enninga
Secretary; Community Member, Greater Minnesota


Bryan E. Bass EdD
President, DeLaSalle High School

Courtney Caldwell
Achievement & Integration Lead Specialist, Eastern County Schools

Lee Carlson, MA
Community Member, Southwest State University

Stephanie Crosby, MEd, MSW
Executive Director of Human Resources, Robbinsdale Area Schools

Kim Ellison
Director, Minneapolis Board of Education

Danielle Grant, MPA
President & CEO, Achieve Minneapolis

Sundraya Kase
Director of Community Initiative, Minnesota Private College Council

Josefina Landrieu
Assistant Chief Diversity Officer, Minnesota State


Strategic Partners

  • Generation Next
  • Hamline University
  • Minnesota Department of Education
  • Minnesota Office of Higher Education
  • Minnesota Department of Human Rights
  • MN Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB)
  • Mankato State University, Courageous Leadership Institute
  • Youthprise

District Partner Institutions 2019-2020

  • Brooklyn Center School District
  • Equity Alliance Minnesota
  • Hopkins School District
  • Minnesota Private College Council
  • Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
  • Northwest Suburban Integration School District
  • Osseo Area School District
  • Robbinsdale Area School District
  • St. Paul Public Schools
  • University of Minnesota


  • 3M Foundation
  • Blandin Foundation
  • Bush Foundation
  • ECMC Foundation
  • Graves Foundation
  • Greater Twin Cities United Way
  • Joyce Foundation
  • McKnight Foundation
  • Mortenson Foundation
  • Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation
  • Sauer Family Foundation
  • Securian Foundation

Advisors for BBG#1

Rural Projects — Mille Lacs Region & Nobles County
  • Letty Rodriguez, Equity Champion, 4H University of Minnesota
  • Mary Sam, Director of Race, Inclusion and Equity and Central Lakes College
Superintendent Race Equity Leadership Network
  • Dr. Candace Raskin, Co-Director, Center for Engaged Leadership, Mankato State University
  • Dr. Melissa Krull, Co-Director, Center for Engaged Leadership, Mankato State University
  • Nan Yurecko, Lead Consultant, Race Equity Specialist
Minnesota Race Equity Distance Learning Coalition
  • Gevonee Ford, Founder and Executive Director, Network for the Development of Children of African Descent (NdCAD)
  • Kari Denissen Cunnien, Executive Director, Ignite Afterschool
  • KaYing Yang, Director of Programs and Partnerships, Coalition of Asian American Leadership
  • Kori Redeppening, CEO, Minnesota Alliance with Youth
  • Nicole Hernandez, Youth Development Director, Children’s Defense Fund

Advisors for BBG#2

The School Climate Advisory Council
  • Dr. Bernedia Johnson, Retired Superintendent, Professor MN State at Mankato
  • Dr. Raj Sethuru Professor Metro State
  • Dr. Rebecca Neal Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Urban Teaching Hamline University
The School Climate Institute Thought Partners
  • Dr. Lanise Block, Sankore Consulting
  • Dr. Rebecca Neal, Professor and Executive Director, of the Center for Excellence in Urban Teaching Hamline University
  • Jennifer Godinez, Associate Executive Director, MnEEP
School Climate Institute District List
  • Anoka Hennepin School District
  • Carver County School District
  • Creatively Focused
  • MN Internship Center Network
  • Osseo School District

Advisors for BBG#3

TeachMN20/20 Implementation Team
  • Dana Holliday Kraus, Holliday Ink
  • Dave Dayles, Holliday Ink
  • Dr. Rose Chu, MnEEP
  • Emily Zaffiro, Collectivity
  • Gustavo Ochoa, Collectivity
  • Jenny Kramm, Collectivity
  • Molly Priesmeyer, Good Work Group
  • Nancy Showers, Holliday Ink
  • Scott Cole, Collectivity
  • Shehla Mushtaq, Collectivity
TeachMN20/20 Advisors and/or Thought Partners
  • Alex Liuzzi, MN Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board
  • Angela Mansfield, MN Department of Education
  • Casey DeMarais, MN Humanities Center
  • Christopher Hoehn, Minnesota Association of School Personnel Administrators
  • Debby Odell, MN Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board
  • Dr. Joe Nathan, Center for School Change
  • Dr. Paul Spies, Coalition to Increase Teachers of Color in MN
  • Dr. Rhonda Bonnstetter, MN Association of Colleges of Teacher Education
  • Dr. Yelena Bailey, MN Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board
  • Emily Busta, MN Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board
  • Gricel Escobedo-Kingwell, St. Cloud State University
  • Hannah Younce, MN Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board
  • Jillian Stockmo Chapman, The Graves Foundation
  • Joe Munnich, Generation Next
  • Laura Checovich, American Institutes for Research
  • Libby Rau, Youthprise
  • Liz Williams, Greater Twin Cities United Way
  • Michelle Vaught, MN Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board
  • Regina Seabrook, Equity Alliance
  • Sareen Dunleavy Keenan, Greater Twin Cities United Way
  • Sung Ja Shin, MN Humanities Center
  • Tyler Livingston, MN Department of Education
TeachMN20/20 Impact Strategy Map Collaborative

Below are partner organizations who have expressed interest in participating in the Impact Strategy Map Collaborative. Partner organizations use a disciplined structure of Objectives- Measures-Targets-Actions to measure individual and collective program outcomes using a cloud-based platform called InsightVision.

  • Black Men Teach
  • Breakthrough Twin Cities
  • Educators for Excellence
  • Equity Alliance MN
  • Hiawatha Academies
  • Hopkins Public Schools
  • LDA Minnesota
  • LearningWorks at Blake
  • Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Metropolitan Federation of Alternative Schools
  • Northwest Suburban Integration School District
  • Reading and Math Inc.
  • Roseville Area Schools
  • Special Education, Minnesota Department of Education
  • St. Mary’s University
  • St. Paul Public Schools
  • Teach for America Twin Cities
  • The New Teacher Program (TNTP)
  • Transforming MN’s Early Childhood Workforce
  • University of Minnesota Crookston
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • University of St. Thomas
  • Wildflower Foundation
  • Winona State University

Advisors for BBG#4

Emerging Multilingual Learners (EML) Network Members
  • Agustina Borre, Teacher and Graduate Student, Hamline University
  • Ahmed Keynan, Engagement, Education & Outreach Specialist, Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Amy O’Connor Stolpestad, Director of English Learners in Mainstream Project, Hamline University
  • Amy Young, EL Specialist – LEAPS Implementation, School Support, MN Department of Education
  • Ashley Karlsson, EL Specialist, Regional Centers of Excellence
  • Corey Maslowski, Principal, Park Spanish Immersion Elementary School
  • Grant Boulanger, President, MN Council of Teaching and Learning Cultures
  • Heidi Bernal, Retired Principal, Adams Spanish Immersion School, Saint Paul Public Schools
  • Jeannette Lutter-Gardella, Director of Educational Policy and Programs, Isuroon
  • Jennifer Godinez, Associate Executive Director, Minnesota Education Equity Partnership
  • Jill Watson, Associate Professor of Education, St. Olaf College
  • Karla Stone, Lecturer, University of Minnesota
  • KaYing Yang, Director of Programs and Partnerships, Coalition of Asian American Leaders
  • Kaysa Willhite, Multilingual Learners Coordinator, Richfield Public Schools
  • Kendall King, Professor, University of Minnesota
  • Kristina Robertson, EL Coordinator, Roseville Public Schools
  • Leah Soderland, Advocacy Committee Chair, MinneTESOL
  • Leiataua Jon Peterson, Program Consultant, Minnesota Education Equity Partnership
  • Martha Bigelow, Professor, University of Minnesota
  • Michelle Benegas, Assistant Professor, Hamline University
  • Michelle Sandler, Teacher Education Specialist, MN Professional Educator and Licensing and Standards Board
  • Muhidin Warfa, Executive Director of Multilingual Learning, Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Pang Yang, Hmong Cultural Specialist, Saint Paul Public Schools
  • Rep. Carlos Mariani, Executive Director, Minnesota Education Equity Partnership
  • Samantha Diaz, Legislative and Policy Director in Education, MN Council on Latino Affairs
  • Sambath Ouk, EL Coordinator, Faribault Public Schools
  • Yee Yang, Engagement, Education & Outreach Specialist, Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Yeu Vang, Office of Multilingual Learning Director, St. Paul Public Schools

Advisors for BBG#5

College Race Equity Advocacy Advisory Council (CREAAC) 2020
  • Alison Kadlec, Founding Partner, SOVA Solutions
  • Ambar Hanson, Community Relationship Officer, Mortenson Family Foundation
  • Carlos Mariani Rosa, Executive Director and MN State Representative, Minnesota Education Equity Partnership and MN House of Representatives
  • Fernando Rodriguez, Director, Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
  • Jeannette Lutter-Gardella, Director of Educational Policy and Programs, Isuroon
  • Jenny Xiong, Admissions Counselor and Asian American Liaison, Metropolitan State University
  • Joaquin Muñoz, Assistant Professor, Augsburg University
  • Kenneth Bartlett, Department Chair, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
  • Lara Couturier, Principal, HCM Strategists
  • Larry Litecky, Community Leader
  • Leiataua Robert Jon Peterson, CEO, Co-founder, and Program Consultant, TE2: Education and Engineering Consulting and Minnesota Education Equity Partnership
  • Megan Rozowski (co-chair), Director of Research and Policy Development, Minnesota Private Colleges
  • Michael Dueñes, Community Leader
  • Sandy Pulles (co-chair), Vice President of Equity and Inclusion, ServeMinnesota
  • Teri Hinds, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives – Equity 2030, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
  • Tricia Wilkinson, Director, TRIO Upward Bound, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
MnEEP Research Collaborative Table (RCT) - 2019
  • Aisha Abdullahi, Hamline University
  • Alex Hermida, Senior Research Analyst for Educational Attainment, Minnesota Office of Higher Education
  • David Heistad, Director of Research and Evaluation, Bloomington Public Schools
  • Elizabeth Fontaine, College Readiness Academy Instructor and Program Manager, International Institute of Minnesota
  • Jeannette Lutter-Gardella, Director of Educational Policy and Programs, Isuroon
  • Jennifer Godinez, Associate Executive Director, Minnesota Education Equity Partnership
  • Joaquin Muñoz, Assistant Professor, University of Augsburg
  • Julio Caesar, Evaluation Specialist, Bloomington Public Schools
  • Krissy Wright, Director, Jennings Community School
  • Krista Soria, Director of Student Affairs Assessment, University of Minnesota
  • Leiataua Jon Peterson, Program Consultant, Minnesota Education Equity Partnership
  • Megan Rozowski, Director of Research and Policy Development, Minnesota Private College Council
  • Michael Dueñes, Former Dean, North Hennepin Technical College
  • Michael Rodriguez, College of Education and Human Development Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Campbell Leadership Chair in Education and Human Development; Professor, University of Minnesota
  • Nicola Alexander, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota
  • Nicole Whelan, Research Analyst, Minnesota state grants, financial aid, FAFSA Completion, Minnesota Office of Higher Education
  • Priyank Shah, Director of Equity Assessment, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
  • Rep. Carlos Mariani Rosa, Executive Director, Minnesota Education Equity Partnership
  • Rev Hillstrom, Director of Educational Equity, Osseo Public Schools
  • Rose Chu, Senior Policy Fellow, Minnesota Education Equity Partnership
  • Samantha Diaz, Legislative and Policy Director in Education, Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs
  • Stacy Gray-Akyea, Director of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment, Saint Paul Public Schools
  • Tricia Wilkinson, Director, TRIO University of Minnesota