Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Enfield Chooses Highline

From the Times, it has been announced that Dr. Enfield has taken the superintendent's job offered by Highline School district.

From the story:

“I will not let this community down,” said Enfield, the interim chief of Seattle schools. “I will work tirelessly on behalf of the students and staff here.”

The job at the 18,000-student district would start July 1, the day after Enfield’s position in Seattle ends – a commitment she plans to keep, Enfield said. The contract would be for three years; salary terms have not yet been finalized.

In choosing Highline, Enfield spurned advances from Bellevue School District officials, who were exploring an accelerated interview process with her for their superintendent vacancy.

Enfield said she was impressed by Highline’s staff and school board. She made the decision after spending Friday interviewing at the district, she said.

“I don’t think it’s so much what Highline has that Bellevue doesn’t,” she said. “I just thought the fit (was better).”

Enfield said she plans to relocate her family to Highline. Her husband currently lives in Portland. “We can’t wait,” she said.

A couple of comments.

This seems like an interesting choice for Dr. Enfield; I wish her wish.

I would also tell Highline to get ready for the full-court press for TFA because it is coming.

Also, I have no idea why Dr. Enfield was in SPS so long and yet her husband never moved here. Odd, given that now she has another job in the same area and now he's moving.

17 comments:

Patrick said...

I don't think it's so odd that Enfield's husband didn't move here before. It makes sense if she always considered Seattle to be a stepping-stone job, not someplace she wanted to stay long-term.

Po3 said...

Interesting comment from Lynn Varner in the story:
"And what do we hear from the Seattle School Board members who encouraged her to leave? Crickets."
More of that insurgent talk. I have often wondered, what SPS school(s) do her children attend that gives her such insight?

Anonymous said...

Varner lives in Issaquah.

She is anti-union (she crossed union picket lines in the newsroom walkout at the Times a decade ago to get her job.

She doesn't have insights. She has press releases and hobnobbing with the chamber Ed Reform set.

DistrictWatcher

mirmac1 said...

Oh yeah, and Varner is the Times' Joan Rivers of the Golden Globes/Academy Awards shows (she tweets about hair and everything). Goes to show, they keep her so they can present the right color face on Ed Reform.

KG said...

She probably left partially because of the Lowell incident.

Anonymous said...
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Dorothy Neville said...

The Lowell incident investigation ought to uncover what lessons (if any) the district learned from the Broadview-Thompson incident and, assuming that the district as a whole learned something, whether actions at Lowell by administrators were in alignment with the district's lessons learned. Dr Enfield and Ms/Dr Coogan were fully aware of the incident at Lowell and the aftermath last Spring. As was the school board. If the investigation does not cover this aspect, I will be deeply disappointed.

I believe Highline has had their own incident with lessons to be learned as well. Perhaps they learned them better than Seattle and Dr Enfield will share with her former district.

Anonymous said...

Lowell, Lowell, Lowell. Really. Who cares? I'm sure her leaving has nothing to do with that. I take her absolutely at her word. Why would she possibly want to stay in SPS? Highline is a much easier job, and she probably likes the area. That's it.

And Lynn Varner is right. What have we heard from the Board about our own Superintendent search? Nearly nothing. There's a plan for a plan, and maybe one day we'll even have a candidate or two. They're too embroiled with process to even act. Paralyzed is the word, and it's everywhere you look in SPS. Good or not, Ensfield is smart enough to see that. I'm sure Highline will make out as well with her as SPS will with any choice they come up with as an alternative.

-reader

mirmac1 said...

reader,

Actually the Board does have a plan, they're just not that willing to share it unless you hang out at their committee meetings.

Paralyzed? I would say the current board is shaking itself OUT of paralysis. The remaining robots have rebooted and the new members are insisting on information from staff in order to govern.

I fear for Highline and its board. I hope its district staff have high ethical standards and transparency embedded in how they do business.

Anonymous said...

Oh the super secret plan? The one that will one day become the public plan, after they have plan to release it to the public? Or do they also need a plan for a plan for the public unveiling of their process?

Where's the beef? Where are the candidates? Highline and Bellevue don't seem to suffer the paralysis, even if you don't like their result.

Or are you just talking about the oldies squabbling with the newbies? That's the reboot? In a few short months, the newbies will be oldies too. Everyone will hate them too. And by then, we'll have another round of elections. But will we have a super? Or just another interim?

-readers

Melissa Westbrook said...

I actually agree about Lowell but we will wait for the report (which will come out this week).

I reported on what is happening with the super search. They are waiting for applications. The applications will be reviewed and finalists selected.

After that, it's a bit of a mystery as the Board page has no real timeline of when anyone in the public will learn their names or meet them.

As I reported, this is quite different from how Highline and Bellevue did it. They had a lot of public input.

Anonymous said...

Seattle knew that it had a vacancy In the Super job and should have started a search in the fall to have an advantage over districts like Bellevue that have openings develop during the year. That having been said, there are plenty of candidates out there nationallly.

Searches for high level administrative positions succeed or fail based on two factors, neither of which are publicly knowable at this stage in the process.

First, how good was the committee at pool development: did they get the star candidates in the field to apply? Did they recruit plausible outside the box candidates? Did they find established leaders who might be tiring of their particular jobs? Etc.

Second, how good is the committee's judgment: can they sort out the superficially appealing candidates from the actually good ones? Can they read between the lines in references? Do they understand what leadership styles mesh with their communitty and which clash? Etc.

I have no doubt there are many better candidates than Enfield out there. It remains to be seen whether we end up with one.

--amsiegel

KG said...

The Broadview incident. Yes, I believe the administrators handed out inside master keys to the building which is against board policy.

The person who made several copies and handed them out to many staff members. Things would then come up missing and we know that one Mr. Hill did with his key.

Still to this day the district did not re-key the building.

I know meetings were held regarding key control and building permit policy with Mr. Tully and Susan Derse among other district officials and nothing was done to fix Broadview-Thomson.

Typical.

dan dempsey said...

WOW I super hope Seattle does a better job of vetting a superintendent candidate before making a contract offer than Highline just did.

Congratulations for the work done by Highline's Head Hunters is hardly in order.

Seattle may be able to go slower and do an equally poor job however. (Oh I hope not.) Hopefully this will not be an MGJ repeat.

NicK Esparza said...

Susan Enfield, right, speaks at a news conference in Burien. At left is Highline School Board President Angelica Alvarez. (Photo by Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Nick Esparza said...

http://youtu.be/L7eI73DBt-A

Jan said...

Like Patrick, I don't see it as odd that Dr. Enfield's husband didn't relocate here. If I had been working under MGJ, I wouldn't have felt too confident about long term job viability either. And her promotion was "interim." Unlike Patrick, I am not sure she wouldn't have originally wanted to stay long term.

But when you have been involved as senior management of a failed administrations (which MGJ's surely was, in my opinion), there is always going to be some "political difficulty" separating the "new" you from the one who was involved in the old bad stuff. She "sort of" did this with transparency, etc. -- but really, to have convinced many, including me, she would have had to repudiate a lot more than she did. And really, given how cozily in bed several of the directors are, and have been, with ed reform and MGJ's policies -- she wasn't really free to do that. Then, DeBell started doing stuff that makes it pretty clear that he wants to hobble, rather than help, the new board. Really. She had a front row seat for all this stuff. Her "boss" has seven heads. If they all just sleep -- and do nothing (like they did for MGJ)-- she is ok, because she can just forge ahead and do whatever she thinks best. But that isn't ok with me -- and I am not alone, if the last election, tossing out half of the snorers is any indication.

What does she have now?
Two new members who I think have every intention of working in good faith to govern the district -- but no intention of falling asleep and failing to govern.
One grumpy pouter who thinks the new guys are out of line and doesn't intend to change a darn thing about his approach.
One former board member who COULD have chosen to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the new board and jump in wholeheartedly to help the new board transition smoothly and govern well, but who seems to have chosen instead to make his colleagues look bad and drive wedges, where possible, to create board factions.
Two "more or less" independents -- who came in before the end of the MGJ realm (and thus never had to campaign on the basis of their opinion of her and her policies) but late enough that they don't get tarred with what she left behind.
And Sherry.

I think that she looked at this, at the problem of having been part of the MGJ regime, and at the fact that this is a big district -- with lots of political pressures from Ed Reform groups, and decided that she could do better work in a less turbulent situation.

I wish her well. I hope that in a smaller District, she will have the ability (and willingness) to tune out much of the national Ed Reform clangor -- and listen and respond solely to what the children, parents, and teachers in Highline tell her they want and need to maximize student learning (and this includes paying attention to facts, Dan -- not just fads). If she really, really does this -- in 10 years, she could be an out-of-the-park homerun as s superintendent for a larger, more complex district. If she doesn't -- she will be just one mediocre (or worse) public bureaucrat in a sea of thousands.