Interim Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Susan Enfield, who took over management of the state’s largest school district after the board ousted Monica Goodloe-Johnson back in the spring, announced today that she will “neither seek nor accept” the permanent position of superintendent, which means she will departing the district midway through 2012 when her current contract expires.
Enfield, who previously served as the district’s chief academic officer, did not elaborate on the reasoning behind her decision, saying simply that she was leaving for “my own personal and professional reasons”.
Her announced exit follows the departures of board members Steve Sundquist and Peter Maier, who voters replaced last month with Marty McLaren and Sharon Peaslee. Incumbents Sherry Carr and Harium Martin-Morris were reelected.
Seattle Public Schools will now likely conduct a national search for a new permanent superintendent, possibly beginning next month. Whoever the board selects will be the district’s fourth leader in half a decade.
Enfield is at least leaving on her own terms. Her three predecessors (Joseph Olchefske, Raj Manhas, Maria Goodloe-Johnson) were unceremoniously shown the door after the community lost confidence in their ability to lead.
Enfield’s supporters may lament her departure, but we think it’s an opportunity for a fresh start. Seattle Public Schools already has a newly reshaped board as a result of the just-concluded November general election. Now it will be getting a new chief executive as well — someone who was not part of Maria Goodloe-Johnson’s irresponsible and unaccountable administration.
Melissa Westbrook suggested last week that it seems the district is entering a new era. We certainly hope so. The district needs leadership that truly listens to parents, teachers, and especially students. It needs leadership that makes thoughtful, well-researched decisions backed by community input, not just advice dispensed by so-called “education professionals”. How about letting young people have a say in what’s best for young people, for a change? That’s what we’d like to see.