About Culturally Responsive Minds

Welcome to Culturally Responsive Minds! Our mission is to create a critical social consciousness around equity and culture through professional development and curriculum.

Culturally Responsive Minds was founded in 2018 by two teachers, Deanna Wuotila and Jennifer Terry, who recognized an ever-diversifying student base necessitated a change from historical teaching methods to incorporating equity and cultural competencies into the curriculum.

Their front-line experience interacting and teaching students of diverse backgrounds led them to identify 14 equity topics that were underserved in traditional classroom lesson plans. Through an intensive five-month period, they along with several others, worked to create over 300 student lessons and more than five interactive games, as well as compiling protocols and creating professional development lessons for school staff, which address these imperative topics.

These lessons, games, protocols and professional development lessons were then field-tested in the classroom and with school staff in a number of Twin Cities, MN schools associated with the two founders. The end results of these tests found that:

  • students were highly engaged during the activities
  • lessons allowed for open dialogue with students and staff on difficult topics
  • students who were engaged in these lessons daily showed growth in their social emotional learning as well as improvement in behaviors seen in other classes
  • biases around cultural elements and behavior were confronted and changes were made in teacher practice
  • teachers demonstrated a better understanding of student’s cultural behaviors and were able to incorporate these elements into their teaching

After seeing the positive impact Cultural Competency education had on their students and colleagues, Jennifer and Deanna branched off of their experiences and developed a Cultural Journey aimed at increasing cultural competencies in the workplace. These seminars and intensive trainings educate staff on the variances between cultures and how those differences can enhance, rather than detract, from a successful and positive workplace and can contribute to serving the needs of a diverse clientele.

Today, Jennifer and Deanna continue to work to educate students, teachers and workplace staff on equity, cultural competencies and social emotional learning.

Our Team

  • Jennifer Terry M.A., CEO

    Jennifer Terry has worked in the education field for over twenty years. During this time she has taught in both elementary and middle school, served as a middle school instructional coach and has led and created school and district professional development around a variety of topics including Culturally Responsive Teaching.

    Jennifer also serves as an instructional coach for the Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning and created and runs their Summer Institutes for teachers and school leaders. This passion Jennifer has for changing schools to be more equitable has led to her work with CCRTL and to her creation of Culturally Responsive Minds.

  • Deanna Wuotila, M.A., CFO

    Deanna Wuotila has worked in the education field for twenty years. She has both middle school and elementary teaching experience. In addition to her classroom experience, Deanna has served on various district and school leadership teams and on interdistrict equity teams. She is passionate about supporting teachers and schools around equity work and global education.

    That passion led her into working as as an Instructional Coach for the Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning as well as co-leading the Summer Institutes. She was also selected as a 2017 fellow for the Teachers for Global Classrooms program. Deanna seeks a rich, equitable educational opportunity for all students, which led her to developing Culturally Responsive Minds.