The staff of Minnesota Education Equity Partnership is a group of dedicated and passionate individuals who tirelessly pursue the organization’s mission. Each individual comes with his or her own unique style, expertise, and character, enriching the flavor of our work and the staff itself. Carlos_Mariani_Rosa_01-e1420488903385Carlos Mariani Rosa, Executive Director Carlos Mariani Rosa is a distinguished leader in the nonprofit and public sector. He was appointed executive director of the Minnesota Minority  Partnership, Inc. in 1997, during a time of transition from the founding leadership. Under his tenure, Minnesota Education Equity Partnership has increasingly strengthened its voice as a statewide authority on students of color in Minnesota with the publication of the State of Students of Color Report (in 2001, 2004 and 2006).  MnEEP has become an influential presence advocating for students of color at major education policy tables such as the MN P-20 Council. Mariani Rosa was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1990, representing St. Paul district 65B. He is a member of the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), and has focused his efforts on issues affecting urban and minority communities including education, public transit, housing and economic development. He has served as chair of the E-12 Education Policy Committee. He authored several race equity bills that were signed into law: MN Prosperity (DREAM) Act for undocumented students, the Learning English for Academic Proficiency and Success Act (LEAPS) promoting linguistic capacity of emerging multi-linguals including those whose first language is not English, and the Achievement and Integration in MN Act (AIM) re-establishing MN’s school racial integration revenue program to combine academic outcomes with racial integration efforts. Carlos is a member of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials and the National Conference of Hispanic State Legislators. Mariani Rosa is well-recognized for his leadership. Throughout his legislative career he has been honored by a diversity of groups including the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action, the Jobs Now Coalition, the MN School Boards Association, Literacy Minnesota, MN Mesa Latina, Immigration Law Center, Sierra Club, and many others for outstanding advocacy as a legislator. A 1980 graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, the history major was a Mondale Policy Fellow at the U of M Hubert H Humphrey Institute in 1991, and a U.S. Delegation Member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders exchange to Argentina and Uruguay in 1996. He is the recipient of Macalester College’s Alumni Distinguished Citizen Award. He was awarded the prestigious Bush Fellowship in 2013 and was a Studio E Fellow in 2014. DSC04745-EditJennifer Godinez, Associate Director Jennifer Godinez is associate director of Minnesota Education Equity Partnership. As associate director, she co-leads MnEEP and is responsible for key initiatives and program evaluation.  Prior to joining Minnesota Education Equity Partnership (Formerly MMEP), she served as executive director of La Escuelita and is founding chair of the Latino Scholarship Fund of Minnesota. She has in-depth experience in youth development, college access program development, race equity policy and strategy development, and education policy development. From 2011-2014, she has led the “Race Equity and Excellence in Education Network”—developing research and race equity action plans for distinct rural areas in Minnesota. Along with Minnesota Education Equity Partnership (Formerly MMEP) collaborative partners, she co-leads the development of a policy brief series and advocacy campaign for education policy transformations in Minnesota schools and colleges and universities. Jennifer also advises Minnesota Education Equity Partnership (Formerly MMEP) Race Equity Research and Policy Fellows on various advocacy projects related to students of color and education policy. Through the MCAN initiative from 2006 to 2009, Godinez led advisors and staff in building a state-wide network of programs that support community-based, multicultural college access services and social marketing messaging with the goal of increasing college access and success rates of students of color in Minnesota. Godinez has been awarded one of the Twin Cities “Top Executives” in 2008, the “Leader of the Year” from La Prensa newspaper, the “25 on the Rise” award by the Hispanic Business Chamber, and several other community leadership awards.  For her efforts in shaping education policy and practice, she has appeared on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer show, MPR, and Star Tribune. In 2008, she was selected as a German Marshall Memorial Fellow and traveled to Europe to meet with public policy and community leaders from five countries. Godinez has a B.A. in Sociology from Drake University, a Master’s Degree in Public Policy with concentrations in education policy and nonprofit management from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, and anthropology and Spanish-language training with the School for International Training in Oaxaca, México. Godinez was recently published, contributing “How Educators Can Support the High Expectations for Education that Exists in the Latino Family and Student Community,” to “White Teachers / Diverse Classrooms: Creating Inclusive Schools, Building on Students’ Diversity, and Providing True Educational Equity.” Jennifer has been a board member of the Citizens League, Achieve!Minneapolis, part of the Regent Candidate Advisory Council of Minnesota, and the Latino Economic Development Center.  Jennifer is a proud board member/advisor to El Colegio Charter School, an advisor to the twin cities Generation Next initiative, and a member of the Governor’s Taskforce on Graduation Rates. DSC04748-EditMarika Pfefferkorn, Director,  MN Black Male Achievement Network Marika Pfefferkorn has been an educator, coach, advocate, leader and innovator in the Twin Cities Metro for over 15 years working with, for and on behalf of youth and their families through, consulting, direct service, professional training and development, research publication, curriculum development, strategic planning and program evaluation. She has worked along the continuum of education and throughout educational eco-systems in Minnesota; from early childhood to post-secondary options, in schools, out-of-school time networks, municipal and intergovernmental agreements/contracts. In her current role as Director for the Minnesota Education Equity Partnership (MnEEP) she leads the Minnesota Black Male Achievement Network (MnBAN), that houses the Solutions Not Suspensions Statewide Campaign, the Solutions Not Suspensions Coalition and the Minnesota Black Male Achievement Advisory. Marika provides leadership and drives outcome based efforts to transform the educational trajectory for Black male students in Minnesota schools. She does this by providing technical assistance, professional training and development, policy development and analysis. Marika sits on multiple boards and commissions including Chair, Northwest Community Building, Director on the African American Leadership Forum (AALF) Steering Committee and Co-Chair for the AALF Policy Workgroup. She is the founding board member of two charter schools and currently sits on the newly authorized S.U.N Academy. She is a member of the Equity Commitments Commission for SWLRT and the Blue Line Coalition. Marika was elected appointed by the Metropolitan Council’s Corridor Management Committee to represent suburban communities along the blueline corridor. Marika Pfefferkorn pursued undergrad degrees in Education and Sociology at Macalester College, followed by Andragogical Studies (Adult Training and Development) and Public Administration at Metropolitan State University. In 2009 she was selected by the University of Minnesota to participate in the Center for Youth Development two year “Emerging Scholars Advanced Degree Program” where she concentrated on Professional Identity and best practices for educating African American girls and boys in Predominantly White Institutions (PWI’s). In 2014 she completed the Wilkins Policy Fellowship at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, under the leadership of Dr. Myer’s noted Economist and Policy analyst. DSC04746-EditBrandon Brooks, AmeriCorps Public Ally Program Associate Brandon joined MnEEP on September 9, 2015 as our AmeriCorps Public Ally Program Associate. He will support the Minnesota Black Male Achievement Network (MnBMAN) advisory and activities.  Brandon’s first project is the Solutions Not Suspensions (SNS) Coalition, National Week of Action; October 3rd – 11th. The 6th Annual Dignity In Schools (DSC) National Week of Action focuses on raising awareness about the systemic pushout of students of color in our nation’s schools and advocates for the human right of every child to a quality education and to be treated with dignity. Brandon will also work directly with MnBMAN’s Director, Co-chairs and Core Advisory Group to launch and advance MnEEP’s 2015-2018 MnBMAN Vision and Strategic Plan. Brandon is currently pursuing a BA in Political Science at the University of Minnesota with aspirations of earning a Master’s in Public Policy. He says about this Pubic Ally opportunity at MnEEP “I am excited to work at MNEEP, I am passionate about the importance of quality public education, particularly in regards to students of color. I believe creating equity within our public education system is fundamental in order to provide students with the necessary opportunities and skills to succeed in our society.


aaeaaqaaaaaaaaxdaaaajdq3ndy2zgy3lwnkodutngfimc1imdezltk3mme3ngywzdm1mgDr. Rose Chu, MnEEP Senior Policy Fellow Dr. Rose Wan-Mui Chu is grateful and honored to join MnEEP in academic year 2016-17 as a Senior Policy Fellow. The focus of her fellowship will be to advance the Big Bold Goal #3 of MnEEP’s 2015-2018 strategic plan where “Minnesota educators reflect student demographics.”  Specifically, her research, organizing and policy advocacy efforts will contribute to MnEEP’s statewide movement to design and implement new systemic ways to identify, recruit, prepare, support and retain a large number of teachers of color and American Indian teachers in Minnesota.   Rose is not new to the work of MnEEP; she has served on the Research Collaborative Table for many years. Rose brings over 20 years of rich and diverse experiences in the private sector, in school settings, in higher education, in public service and in nonprofits.  She is passionate about “connecting the dots” to ensure equitable access to quality education for our underrepresented and underserved learners to become global citizens. Rose has deep knowledge and experience in teacher education and development, particularly in diversifying the teacher workforce.  Her original technical training coupled with her experience as a licensed classroom teacher have continued to ground her life’s work in educational reform and transformation.  Rose is currently an associate professor of the Urban Teacher Program (housed in the School of Urban Education) at Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minnesota.  The mission of the Urban Teacher Program is to increase the number of teachers of color and to prepare all teachers to ensure quality education to urban learners deserve. Bailey Boelter, MnEEP Solutions Not Suspensions Coalition, National Week Of Action Bailey joined MnEEP in August 2016 with a position in collaboration with our friends across the hall, Minnesota Alliance With Youth. As the Youth Policy Coordinator, she will focus on the Solutions Not Suspensions Committee and building student voice at the state legislature through the Minnesota Youth Council’s Policy Committee. Bailey just completed her second year serving as an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow. Her first term of service was with Children’s Defense Fund-MN, and was most recently with Minnesota Alliance With Youth and the Minnesota Youth Council as Civic Engagement Promise Fellow. She focused on Youth Day at the Capitol and getting student voices heard in the discussion on student discipline. Originally planning to be a history and geography teacher, Bailey’s plans changed while studying at UW-Eau Claire and going on the school’s Civil Rights Pilgrimage. “I switched from Education to Community Development & Social Justice to make equitable systemic change in our state.” Bailey hopes to attend graduate school at Humphrey School of Public Affairs someday and is the slowest coffee drinker you’ll ever meet.


Aara Johnson, Policy Fellow

Aara Johnson is the intern on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and English Learners project. She’ll be researching and recommending policy on how to best include ELs and measure English language proficiency for MDE’s state education plan.
Aara grew up in Blaine, Minnesota, graduating from Centennial Senior High School. She majored in Political Science at DePaul University in Chicago and returned to Minnesota for a Master of Public Policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. During and after graduate school, Aara had a few research contracts ranging from international education such as an indigenous college in Bolivia, the construction of a college in Tanzania, to local higher education policy such as best practices for completion or recommendations for a comprehensive four-year film production degree.
Aara recently returned from the Peace Corps where she was a public high school English teacher in Barranquilla, Colombia. She also focused on girls’ empowerment by directing a club and camp and discussing leadership, health, and professionalism. After Peace Corps she stayed in Bogota, Colombia for a few months to offer technical assistance in monitoring and evaluation to an education NGO. She eased back to the USA by being a Senior Summer Fellow at MinnCAN, examining the implementation of the MN LEAPS Act.