2003 EHS graduate Emily (DuPree) Christensen returns to the District as the Assistant Principal of Elkhorn North High School.
What are some of your best memories while at Elkhorn High School? Elkhorn High is where I met my best friends to this day, learned that I liked school, had teachers influence me in my career path, and asserted some confidence. I loved Homecoming Week when everyone came together in the name of school spirit. I loved singing at graduation all four years and sending the seniors off in a meaningful way. EHS was a place where you could do school, sports, music, drama, and clubs. The building was okay but the students, staff, and activities inside EHS is what made it so special to me.
What school activities and athletics were you involved in? Cross Country four years, Swimming (part of the first EVER swim team that co-oped with Westside HS my junior and senior years), Soccer four years; Choir, Swing Choir, and Musical all four years; NHS, Junior Class Board, SADD, FCA, the E-Club, Pep Club… I was the female recipient of the Norlinger Award when I graduated in 2003.
What educational journey did you take after graduation from EHS? After high school graduation, I went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for my freshmen year and then finished my bachelor's degree at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Education with an emphasis in English and Language Arts 7-12. I had my student teaching and very first teaching position at Omaha North High Magnet School in Omaha Public Schools in 2007. There I coached soccer and taught English 9-12 and Humanities. I was then recruited by the Avenue Scholars Foundation to be a Talent Advisor at Omaha Bryan High School. I did this from 2010-2016. During this time, I had the opportunity to work with at-risk high schoolers to improve school attendance, grades, behavior, career exploration, navigating legal and health care systems, etc. There was a large emphasis on college and career readiness during the high school portion of the program. After completing high school, my students got a full ride at Metro Community College with college advisors continuing to help them navigate their young adult lives. I feel so honored that I got to be a part of this program and with these students. I still keep in touch with many of my Avenue Scholars, thanks to social media. While I was at the Avenue Scholars Foundation, I earned my master's degree in Educational Leadership. After this, I waited about a year before beginning my doctoral degree. In the midst of this degree, I applied and earned the position of Administrative Coordinator (dean of students) at Elkhorn High School in the fall of 2016. In August 2018, I earned my doctorate in Educational Administration with a national certification in superintendency. Then in 2020, I got to open the newest Elkhorn Public Schools’ high school, Elkhorn North, as the assistant principal.
What inspired you to return to Elkhorn as an educator? I fell in love with urban education when I worked at Omaha North and Omaha Bryan High Schools; but the opportunity to move into administration was presented when I applied in Elkhorn. I loved the impact I could make on students in the classroom, but felt I had a different purpose as an administrator to influence the people and systems that help students prosper. Therefore, I knew this door was opening for a reason and I had to step through the threshold.
In a time of life when I needed it, Elkhorn had been a place of respite for me. Little did I know it would be a place of joy and growth for me as an adult too. I treasure that I get to work in Elkhorn Public Schools. I think the vision and leadership truly puts students first and places focus on what matters most.
"Being an administrator brings joy, challenges, something new all the time, and conversations I could never have in another profession."