Minneapolis School District’s Chief Communications Officer resigns

The Chief Communications Officer for the Minneapolis School District has resigned less than four months into her tenure.

Tonya Tennessen resigned from the position effective April 21. She started with the district in January, after nearly three years as communications director for the city of St. Paul.

The district’s chief of staff, Suzanne Kelly, will be overseeing supervision and leadership responsibilities of the Communication and Family and Community Engagement departments in her absence, Superintendent Ed Graff said in an email to the School Board.

The email said the district would continue with the proposed reorganization structure for the two departments that aims to “deliver stronger communication and engagement for the district and communities within our current budget constraints.” The Minneapolis district is facing a $28 million budget gap for the 2017-18 school year.

Tennessen worked as an account director for the public relations firm Weber Shandwick before working for St. Paul.  A former MPS teacher and district alumna, Tennessen was also managing communications director the state Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and press secretary for then-U.S. Senator Mark Dayton.

“I appreciate the work of Ms. Tennessen on numerous District priorities including support of our legislative agenda, town hall meetings with immigrant families, and a host of other topics,” Graff said in a statement. “I also appreciate her commitment on behalf of the students and families of Minneapolis. I wish her well in her future endeavors.”

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