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Cotter Schools

Cotter Schools is an international learning community guided by faith since 1911 where character, personal development, and academic achievement inspire a world of possibilities. With a global market, Cotter turned to CEL to refresh its brand, update its website and develop an integrated marketing communications strategy.


Website Design

What does a Catholic school in Winona, Minnesota do to attract hundreds of students from around the globe and sustain a thriving international learning community? It offers an outstanding education guided by faith, focuses on discovering the best in each student, and has a beautiful, easy-to-use website that invites engagement, generates leads and processes enrollment. CEL’s team worked with Finalsite to design, build, and launch Cotter’s mobile responsive website in 2015. Storytelling, images, video and an interactive map all support the enrollment marketing goal.

School Communications

CEL became a trusted communication advisor for Cotter Schools following our branding and website work. We conducted a communications assessment, recommended a staffing plan and fulfilled interim communication needs until the role was filled. The creative, effective and lasting communication strategy has raised the visibility of the school and helped inspire millions in additional philanthropic support for the future of Cotter Schools. CEL has continued to serve as trusted public relations counsel for strategic priorities.

  • Our marketing partner since 2015

    “CEL has taken care of all of our marketing needs and more since 2015. They keep us current and relevant to our patients and help us attract new patients. They save us time and energy with our marketing and public relations and track results to measure our return on investment.”

    – Annette Steffens, Southdale ObGyn

  • CEL has provided us with the tools and support to crystallize our brand and value. It is more than just marketing.

    They (CEL) helped us refine and re-define who we are and why we do what we do. Their listening, creativity and deliverables kept us thriving in tough economic times for our industry.

    – Sarah Kaelberer, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, President – Business & Estate Advisers, Inc.

  • I’ve hired CEL to promote my events since 1999…There is no better company.

    Together, we re-positioned the Uptown Art Fair in Minneapolis and took the Saint Louis Art Fair to a new level of success with local and national media coverage. In addition to drawing a crowd, the media focus they place on individual artists has helped attract high-level professional artists and qualified buyers. Always prepared, CEL’s crisis communications are extraordinaire.

    – Cindy Lerick, Former Executive Director of Uptown Association, Mpls and Former Executive Director of Cultural Festivals Saint Louis, MO.

Cotter Schools

Cotter Schools is an international learning community, guided by faith where character, personal development, and academic achievement inspire a world of possibilities. Cotter turned to CEL to tell their story that began in 1911, and update their brand, messaging, and marketing materials to better reflect their work in guiding students to reach their full potential in a nurturing environment.


While writing their strategic plan, Cotter Schools leadership determined that they were not effectively capturing the essence of the “Cotter family” and the subsequent loyalty that emerges from their educational experience. They knew it was the key to effective marketing, but they were struggling with conveying it.

In addition, rapidly changing technology was requiring advancement in how they communicated their values, vision, and mission with students, staff, parents, and the community. With an overwhelming number of options for platform vendors, making choices on their own was daunting, knowing the outcome could have serious implications on school operations and expansion capabilities for years to come.


CEL became Cotter Schools’ advocate and project manager, establishing and guiding leaders, staff and board members through the entire process.

CEL wrote copy and designed a fresh new look for all marketing collateral and publications and re-designed their website, assuring best practices, functionality and usability, integrated with all other online components. They selected a development platform provider and managed the process with developers and vendors to best ensure that the identified needs of administration, faculty, students, and parents were met. Cotter’s brand identity and key messages are now strong and evident throughout their website, marketing materials, and verbal communication. Leadership, staff, board members, alumni, and students take pride in clearly communicating the vision and mission of Cotter Schools. 

“CEL was a terrific gift to educators seeking to communicate more effectively. They know schools, communication, and technology. They hit the ground running without missing a beat, hit the mark with our updated brand and messaging, and took the weight of website redesign and management off our shoulders. No school administrator or board of directors should try to implement a communication plan without them!”

Sister Judith Schaefer, President
Cotter Schools