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Emily Lilja Palmer
Shannon Tenner
Dr. Emily Lilja Palmer
Assistant Principal
Shannon Tenner
Assistant Principal
Michelle Terpening



Welcome to Washburn High School, home of the Mighty Millers!

I am grateful for the opportunity to lead such a wonderful school. Washburn is a really caring community, where everyone can find their place. Our value on Academics, Arts & Athletics means we understand that a well-rounded student has many facets to their life & school experience.

This is my second principalship, and the 2019-2020 school year will be my 27th year in education. I started teaching and coaching at South HS in 1993. I also taught at Anthony MS and Patrick Henry HS. After 14 years of teaching, I moved into administration, first as Asst. Principal at RIchfield MS, then back in MPS as Principal at Sanford MS, and now Principal at Washburn. I enjoy administration because, like teaching, it's never boring! There is a new challenge every day.

I earned 3 degrees from the University of Minnesota: BA in English from the College of Liberal Arts, 1992; MEd in Secondary Curriculum & Instruction from the College of Education, 1996; and PhD in Educational Leadership from the Graduate School, 2013. Both my parents attended the UMN as well (it's where they met!) so I am truly a life-long Gopher.

I am a Minneapolis resident, and grew up here too. I am a proud product of the Minneapolis schools, K-12. I travel a lot, but I have never lived outside the Twin Cities.

I am married with two daughters, one of whom is a 1st grade teacher in St Paul. Raising a teacher is absolutely one of my proudest life accomplishments.

My purpose in education is to empower students to create their best future. This is posted on the wall in my office, along with our Washburn vision: Washburn is a destination school of excellence for students of all backgrounds!


History of Principals of Washburn High School


SHANNON TENNER, Assistant Principal

Hello students, parents, and families! Some of you may know me already as I’ve spent ten years (six as a dean and four as an English language arts teacher in the SPAN program) right here at Washburn! I am a Minnesota native, and I reside in St. Paul with my daughter and dog. 
My formal education was acquired from various schools in Minneapolis. I attended college at the University of MN – Twin Cities Campus, where I earned a B.A. in Child Psychology. Later, I attended Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, where I obtained my M.A. in Health and Human Services Administration. From there I attended the University of St. Thomas where I earned my Educational Specialist Degree in K-12 Educational Administration as well as my Special Education teaching license with my focus being Emotional Behavior Disorders. 
I consider my professional experience in education to be well-rounded due to serving in different capacities within Minneapolis Public Schools. I spent my first 15 years of my educational career in MPS as a paraprofessional, dean, and special education teacher. Prior to coming back to MPS, I was in St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) where I taught, was an admin intern and was most recently a special education instructional coach. During the summers, I travel and spend time relaxing with friends and family.
My passion is helping all children navigate the high school experience in order to become 21st century-ready, as they obtain some form of post-high school education.  I am super excited to work with and build long lasting relationships with the students, staff, parents and the amazing community who make Washburn a great school. Here’s to an awesome school year where our mission is to advocate, educate and motivate every student – every single day!


MICHELLE TERPENING, Assistant Principal

Michelle Terpening is a career Miller. She began at Washburn in 2005 as a school counselor and has been here ever since. She most recently served as the Administrative TOSA/Intern for three years and is now happy to serve as an assistant principal.
Michelle was raised in upstate New York and relocated to Minnesota in 2000 to continue her college studies at St. Cloud State University. She has a bachelor’s degree in English (2003) and a master’s degree in Counseling Education/Educational Psychology (2005). She completed her K-12 Administrative Licensure at the U of M-Twin Cities in the spring of 2016. 
Michelle frequently says that the best part of her job is encouraging students to believe in themselves and become productive members of their community. “I enjoy all of the families and strong relationships I am able to build in this role," Terpening said. "I hope all of the people who I come in contact with feel supported and feel that they have made a positive connection with another member of the Washburn community.”
Michelle enjoys mountain biking and resides in Bloomington with her husband, their son and their dog.