Teresa Ponessa has been an educator for more than 20 years. She has taught elementary students in a large suburban district, as well as in Thailand and New Zealand through teacher exchange programs. Teresa has also served as a teaching and learning specialist, where she was responsible for curriculum, instruction, and assessment in the following areas: social studies, art, music, physical education, media research, and science.

Teresa provides professional development to schools and districts. Teachers, principals, district administrators, school board members, community members, and paraeducators are all part of the audiences she supports. Her professional development workshops and ongoing follow-up support cover topics such as curriculum development using the Understanding by Design® framework, social studies teaching and learning, integrating literacy in the content areas and inquiry-based learning. She has provided ongoing consultation and facilitated professional learning opportunities for the Library of Congress grant “Inquiry in the Upper Midwest” and has served as a faculty member of the George Washington Teacher Institute at Mount Vernon, where she taught courses on integrating history and literacy.

Currently, Teresa serves as project director for the Learning Law and Democracy foundation where she leads curriculum writing and resource development, and facilitates professional learning to strengthen civics education. She is also an adjunct professor for the University of Saint Thomas where she teaches methods courses in elementary social studies and the arts. As an passionate advocate for social studies education, Teresa has served on the Minnesota Department of Education’s K–12 Academic Social Studies Standards Review Committee in 2011 as the co-chair and is current member of the 2021 revisions committee. She is also a board member for the Minnesota Council for Social Studies and serves on the planning committee for the 2021 National Council for Social Studies Annual Conference.

Teresa holds a Master of Education degree in teaching and learning from Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minn., and a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from the University of Minnesota.

Areas of expertise

  • Understanding by Design
  • Social Studies Education
  • Inquiry-based learning

Available for consulting work in:

  • North America
  • International locations on all continents