As a founding director and creative force behind Tolerance in Motion, Laura began the research and development work in 2009 by designing the core program big ideas, building the new non-profit infrastructure and recruiting resources and relationships for the project. Laura continues to play a professional leadership role in developing the mobile tour’s educational content, engaging school communities to participate and building the Council of Advisors.
Laura Zelle graduated from the University of St. Thomas with her Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She began her career as a public school teacher with the St. Paul Public Schools. Laura taught elementary grades for 15 years before transitioning to the non-profit world at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.
Laura was hired to direct Tolerance Minnesota in 2006, and began leaving her mark on the program by capturing Holocaust survivor stories through new programming. The new and innovative programming includes five locally produced films with teacher resources. Two of the documentaries, In the Shadow of the Acropolis, and But Some Survive received national Telly Awards. Laura is also co-curator of Transfer of Memory, a traveling photography exhibition that has reached over 20,000 viewers since its inception in 2011. In her director role with Tolerance Minnesota, Laura oversees the daily operations of the program; writing grants, delivering curriculum, educator workshops, speakers, and film showings throughout Minnesota.
Through all of her work, Laura recognizes the need to constantly think bigger and better to engage new audiences and expand a programs’ reach.