Dr. Susan Enfield ‘Thrilled, Honored’ with Chance to Lead Highline Schools
Story & Photos by Ralph Nichols
Saying she is “thrilled and honored,” Dr. Susan Enfield was introduced Tuesday morning (Feb. 28) as new Highline School District superintendent.
“This is a decision that I am so happy about,” Enfield said during a press conference at district headquarters. “I thank the school board for being so welcoming.
“I made a commitment to the board that I will not let this community down.”
Enfield, currently the interim superintendent of Seattle’s public schools, had announced earlier she would not continue in that post.
Again today she said that decision was made for both “personal and professional” reasons, and once again she did not elaborate.
But, Enfield noted, “I wanted to go to a smaller district and to be part of the community,” and wanted to remain in this area.
Her husband will move here from their Vancouver home – “I can’t wait,” she said – and they will live in the Highline School District.
“Seattle is a special place” and its school superintendent position offered “lots of challenges,” Enfield continued, expressing appreciation for that opportunity.
“What I take away from it is how do we make sure that our decisions and actions give students the education they need.”
The Bellevue School District was also interested in Enfield, and the Puyallup School District was rumored to be considering her as well.
Enfield was offered the superintendent position by the school board Monday afternoon – and accepted – pending successful contract negotiations and a requisite background check.
“We anticipate successful contract negotiations,” school board president Angelica Alvarez told reporters.
School district spokeswoman Catherine Carbone Rogers told The B-Town Blog she did not know the salary range that is being discussed.
“The school board was impressed with Dr. Enfield’s passionate leadership,” Alvarez said. “Dr. Enfield’s skill, passion, and education leadership will match expectations we and our communities hold for the children of Highline public schools.”
She was selected “after much consideration” by the school board, “and an extensive process involving staff, community members, business leaders, and especially parents.”
Board members are expected to vote at their Feb. 29 meeting to formally approve Enfield for the position. She will begin her new job July 1 if they agree on contract terms.
Calling this “the most enjoyable interview process I’ve ever experienced,” Enfield said she is honored by the offer, adding that her decision to accept “was pretty much immediate.”
Enfield is “very, very impressed with the commitment of the school board…. I very much look forward to partnering” with the administration, teachers, and community “so every student receives the education he or she deserves
Adequate funding for public school budgets – “not just locally and in our state but around the country” – is an obvious top priority in her new position with the Highline district.
But budget matters alone aren’t enough, Enfield emphasized.
“We need to find how to support every student in every classroom in every school…. I heard a real commitment [during the interview process] to equity so that every child gets what he or she needs to be a success.”
During her public interview last week, Enfield said Highline is a district ‘that just needs to keep going from good to great.”
Building on this theme, she promised at the press conference to be a “cheerleader” for Highline schools and their students.
Asked what her goals will be, she said it’s “a little premature” to set goals until working with staff to determine specific district needs.
“A smart, thoughtful leader takes time” to do that, Enfield observed.
A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, she earned master’s degrees at Stanford University and Harvard University, and a doctorate in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University with a concentration in the Urban Superintendents Program.
Dr. Enfield spent seven years as a classroom teacher in the San Francisco Bay area. She was Chief Academic Officer and then Deputy Superintendent for Evergreen Public Schools in Vancouver before joining the Seattle School District.