At its meeting this evening the School Board voted 6-1 to appoint Dr. Susan Enfield as Interim Superintendent. The appointment is effective immediately and extends through June 30, 2012. The Board anticipates considering whether to extend a longer term employment agreement to Dr. Enfield or conduct a search for a permanent Superintendent prior to January 19, 2012.Here's what Susan Enfield's statement released today said (in part):
This is a very difficult time for us all. I know there are serious questions about our fiscal stewardship that we must, and will, answer for the community, our taxpayers, district staff, teachers, families and students.
Our immediate priority is to restore public trust in Seattle Public Schools. We will begin with the hiring of an interim Chief Financial Officer and a Chief Operating Officer. There is a national search underway for permanent replacements for these positions. We are also replacing the district’s internal auditor. I will work diligently with the School Board to make sure we hire only the best qualified people for these critical positions so that we can direct our energy where it belongs: serving our schools, teachers and students.
I will also work to ensure that our financial and operational issues do not detract from the quality of day-to-day teaching and learning in our classrooms. I know from my experience as Chief Academic Officer how incredibly fortunate we are here in Seattle to have dedicated and committed staff at all levels of the system who have continued to keep their focus on our students during these challenging times. I want to thank each and every one of them for this and I will be reaching out in the coming weeks to hear from them how we can work together to move forward in our core mission of educating all students. I especially want to acknowledge our teachers and principals and pledge to them my ongoing commitment to providing them the leadership and support they deserve.
I also commit to being out in the community listening to comments, questions and concerns about the School District. I will continue to have an open door policy so parents, employees and community members can offer input directly on how we can continue to improve.
Finally, I am committed to strengthening communication within the district and across our city with our community partners and our families.I am glad to hear that Dr. Enfield recognizes the need for communication. I'm hoping we can find one person to be COO/CFO to avoid two highly paid positions but maybe that's what we need. It seems that work goes together. I wish she had said something about accepting help from the Mayor and City Council.
The Times story this morning about Dr. Enfield interviews the usual suspects: Sara Morris of the Alliance and Chris Korsvo of LEV, both of whom have been notable quiet during this whole thing. (LEV didn't even acknowledge that anything was going on.) They say the usual good things with the key being that she is approachable. I concur.
From the Times' review of her resume:
Enfield comes with an impressive academic résumé: two master's degrees — one from Stanford University, another from Harvard University, from which she also obtained a doctorate in education in 2008.
Enfield began her education career teaching high school in California in 1993. She became a school-improvement coach in Berkeley from 1999 to 2001, then moved to Pennsylvania, where she performed a six-month internship related to her doctorate.
She worked for eight months as special assistant to the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education in 2003 before becoming director of teaching and learning support for Pennsylvania's education department, where she worked for a year.
Named director of teaching and learning for Portland Public Schools in November 2004, she worked there less than two years before becoming deputy superintendent for Evergreen Public Schools in Vancouver, Wash.
What's interesting is the Evergreen superintendent has instructed his staff not to say anything about her, stating she wasn't in the district that long. She was there almost 3 years. Interesting. He says:
"I don't know her that well because she wasn't here that long," Smith said. "But she did advocate for special education and the people she was in charge of and did effect some positive changes."
I am more than willing to support Dr. Enfield. I have already offered my support to her. I believe she is going into this job very soberly. She knows what is at stake. But when she and I do have the opportunity to sit down and talk, I will be fairly blunt in what I hope to see from the district.
Dr. Enfield sought ME out when she came here (she has a great office - she collects rubber duckies). I was blunt then as well and told her that I didn't expect MGJ to be here for long and I asked her, "How would you feel about being an interim superintendent?" I don't remember her exact answer (she was very diplomatic) but I did want her to understand that this day would come.