By Nicholas Johnson

As Susan Enfield enters her 10th year at the helm of Highline Public Schools, the district’s school board is kicking off a process to find her successor.

That’s because the nationally lauded superintendent has decided to move on following the 2021-22 school year rather than renew her current three-year contract, which expires June 30, 2022.

“It felt like the right time for me personally and for the system,” Enfield told The B-Town Blog by phone Friday afternoon. “I believe every leader has a shelf life.”

Enfield, who came to Highline in July 2012 after serving as chief academic officer and then interim superintendent at Seattle Public Schools, said she is looking for a new superintendency, likely out of state and possibly in California, where she has family.

“We’ve done tremendous work in Highline and that will continue after I leave,” said Enfield, who lists an increase in the district’s graduation rate – from 62 percent in 2013 to 84 percent in 2020 – as one of her many accomplishments over the past nine years.

During its next meeting Wednesday (Sept. 1), the school board will consider a staff proposal to begin a superintendent search by issuing a request for proposals for search consultant services.

“In consultation with the search firm, the Board will design a search process, including engaging with the community to develop the desired qualifications and characteristics for the new superintendent,” the staff proposal states.

Search consultant proposals would be due by Sept. 16, according to a draft of the district’s request for proposals, which states that the district’s goal is to have a new superintendent selected by the end of February 2022. The district’s new leader would take over July 1, 2022.

According to a proposed schedule, the board would interview prospective search consultant firms in late September and make a selection in early October.

The next superintendent of the district – which serves nearly 19,000 students across 33 schools in Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac and part of White Center with a $465 million budget – will be “very lucky” to land the position, Enfield said.

“I speak to a lot of different groups and aspiring superintendents, and the one thing I always say is choose your professional home wisely,” said Enfield, who in 2012 had also been courted to lead Bellevue School District.

“I feel like I chose very wisely when I came to Highline,” she said. “I am very proud of this team and this community.”


Nicholas Johnson (he/him) is an award-winning writer, editor and photographer who grew up in Boulevard Park, graduated from Highline High School and studied journalism at Western Washington University. Send news tips, story ideas and positive vibes to [email protected].