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Emily Lilja Palmer
Shannon Tenner
Dr. Emily Lilja Palmer
Assistant Principal
Shannon Tenner
Assistant Principal
Michelle Terpening
Admininstrative TOSA
Michael O'Connor



Dr. Emily Lilja Palmer became principal of Washburn High School on July, 2, 2018. 
Dr. Palmer has extensive experience in education, for the past five years as the principal of Sanford Middle School here in Minneapolis Public Schools, where she led the school through International Baccalaureate authorization and completed a large building expansion. As an educator, she’s taught grades 6-12, and has 12 years of administrative experience in both urban and suburban schools. 
Dr. Palmer has a doctoral degree in educational administration from the University of Minnesota, where her dissertation focused on leadership for closing racial achievement gaps. The University of Minnesota was also the source of her master’s degree in secondary English education, and her bachelor’s degree with a major in English and a minor in History.
 Dr. Palmer said she is excited to lead Washburn and build on the school’s legacy:  "I am thrilled to join the Washburn community, and look forward to being a part of Washburn's continued academic, artistic and athletic growth. As I have been talking with parents and staff members, I am excited by all the great things I am learning. I look forward to returning to the high school level, and supporting Washburn's continued growth into a world-class high school."

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.


MICHAEL O'CONNOR: Administrative Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA).

Michael O'Connor became the Admin TOS) of Washburn High School in June of 2016. He has been a science teacher in the Minneapolis Public Schools District since 1994, teaching Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Physics. He has coordinated summer school several years and was coordinator of the Health Careers Program at Roosevelt HS for seven years. Prior to coming to Minneapolis, he taught science for five years in New Orleans and two years in the US Virgin Islands.
Michael grew up on the move (16 schools through 12th grade), served in the USAF and has lived in 14 states, Thailand, Puerto Rico and the USVI until settling in Minnesota.  He received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and his M.Ed. in Education from the University of New Orleans.
Michael is committed to supporting Washburn students, families and staff. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, camping and biking.