Let’s talk. I’ll listen.

Support Tesla Mitchell for WAPS School Board District 3!

With nearly a decade of journalism and community leadership in the Winona area, Tesla (Rodriquez) Mitchell is excited to bring her knowledge of Winona and her passion for community to the WAPS District School Board.

From Tesla:

Hey there! Thanks for taking time to look into who I am and what I’m about.

Being a journalist in Winona, I’ve had the privilege and honor to explore all the different corners of our community. One area I’ve seen that needs more community support is our public school district.

As in any community, the public school district is one of numerous pillars that determines the strength of an area. Unless all of a community’s pillars are strong, the community itself is weakened. And considering we have a sizable achievement gap, dwindling enrollment rates, a superintendent who has expressed there aren’t enough resources in areas, and a population of kids who have clearly said they don’t feel heard or supported, I’d say our school district needs more support from the community and that’s exactly what I want to bring to the table. 


  • Mother of two, including a child in the District
  • Former Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Winona Family YMCA
  • Journalist for nearly a decade at the Winona Daily News
  • Organized years worth of Block Parties and Block Party initiatives (Street Meet) in Winona to bring neighborhoods together
  • Blandin Foundation Community Leadership Program 2018 Alumni
  • 2016 Winona Dakota Unity Alliance board member helping specifically with kids activities
  • Zumba and yoga instructor in Winona
  • One of six students to found a multicultural organization on SMU campus

Get in touch:

Tesla Mitchell
tesla.rodriquez@gmail.com 507-450-0179

Share your thoughts below!

Check out the buttons below for a survey on school issues that are important to you, as well as your thoughts on racial equity!

Top 3 priorities

Support the increase of Racial Equity

Advocate for a budget that reflects support for the School District

Be a responsible School Board Member by taking each topic seriously

I’d love to hear YOUR top priorities

for the Winona Area Public School District!

Click the button below to answer a three question survey about what you think is important.

What about Racial Equity?

We need to increase it for our students of color. That’s the simple answer.

The not so simple answer is how. And, honestly, that will take a team effort, along with a lot of help and input — especially from families of color — to find out how. To start, Winona Area Public Schools absolutely needs a Cultural Liaison to help build relationships with families and students of color, to advocate for them, to be a listening ear for issues especially related to racial bullying, and to guide trainings for staff regarding cultural competency. We also need to take a serious look at our curriculum and use resources already being offered around the U.S. and Minnesota to update it to more accurately reflect, well, reality.

Racial Equity is a relatively new word being used, so don’t worry if you’re struggling to understand the definition. The National Public Education Support Fund did an amazing job of explaining Racial Equity, especially related to the education system. Click here to read up on it!

What do you mean by supporting the district through its budget?

Making sure our public education system is funded at a level to bring the best quality education to its students is an absolute must.

As a journalist in the Winona area, I’ve listened and watched as the school district has struggled to feel fully financially supported. Whether it was through failed referendums or hard decisions on what programs to cut, the school district has not been able to give its students all that it wants.

We, as a community, need to give the school district the resources it needs to offer the best education it can. The reason why is because it’s an investment in OUR future. Giving kids the tools to reach their potential means they will uplift our community through their future endeavors. Yes, we won’t see the results right away, but they will come to fruition — whether it’s through more businesses being opened in Winona or students choosing to stay here and improve our community.

We reap what we sow. And in this case, we are not planting the seeds of our children’s future in nutritious dirt.

Being a Responsible School Board Member

After years of reporting on local and regional government, I fully understand that being a school board member — or a city council member or a county board member — is more than working on the “top three priorities.” Being an elected official means a person is committed to face any challenge that comes up and to do their best in each situation to represent their district with the best decisions they can make.

Whether it’s COVID responses, budgetary discussions, policies, procedures, or any number of surprising topics that come up at the school board, I am prepared to take it on.

I am committed to listen, to learn, to advocate, to make decisions, to reassess my own viewpoints after new information, and to do the absolute best I can possibly do.

Winona is my home. I want to do my part in uplifting it to its highest potential.

“Be the Brightest You. The World needs it. And so do you.”