Interim chief of Seattle schools will step down in June



Posted on December 16, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 16 at 7:01 PM

Dr. Susan Enfield, the interim superintendent of Seattle's public schools, on Friday announced that she does not want the job on a permanent basis.

In a letter released to the public, Enfield itemized the progress made over the past months in improving the school system, thanking teachers and administrators for their hard work in making improvements.

"While I am proud of what we have accomplished together," Enfield wrote, "today I am announcing my decision to neither seek nor accept the permanent position of superintendent after my contract ends in June."

Last March, the Seattle Public Schools' board appointed the district-insider, elevating her from her position as the district's chief academic officer to fill in for fired Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson.

With educational degrees from Stanford, Harvard and Berkeley, Enfield previously served as deputy superintendent for a district in Vancouver, Washington, and before that, director of teaching in Portland, Oregon.

Enfield took over Seattle schools after an audit revealed $1.8 million in spending that couldn't be explained, and questions about the man who directed the program, Silas Potter. The board fired Goodloe-Johnson, and Potter is now facing criminal charges that he and two co-defendants bilked $250,000 from the district.

The full text of Enfield's letter is below:

December 16, 2011

Dear Seattle Public Schools staff, families and community:

In March, when I was appointed Interim Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, the District was in crisis. I was tasked with assembling the very best team of professionals to help lead this District, create transparency, improve communication and restore trust between families, the community and Seattle Public Schools.

I am incredibly proud of the work our students, teachers, principals and staff have accomplished over the past 10 months. Seattle is fortunate to have such a team of dedicated educational professionals. The progress we have made is significant:

  • Seattle Public Schools students outperformed the state average in every tested subject in grades 3-8
  • Our four-year graduation rate is up from 67 percent to 73 percent in the last year
  • Our overall school performance is increasing, with 27 schools increasing their overall performance level during 2010-2011
  • Enrollment is on the rise
  • Our city passed yet another Families and Education levy that will provide essential supports to our students

While I am proud of what we have accomplished together, today I am announcing my decision to neither seek nor accept the permanent position of superintendent after my contract ends in June. This was not an easy decision for me to make given my commitment to Seattle and to our students. I wish the school board well in their search for a new superintendent, and will work with the new appointee to ensure a smooth transition for our staff, students and families. It is my sincere hope that the board will continue to build on our successes to date and continue the momentum we have built. I believe strongly that losing this momentum would be a disservice to our students and staff.

Our work here is far from over. Continuing to improve outcomes for all students and attack our achievement gaps will require great principals, great teachers, connected families and community partners and a central office serving schools by supporting high quality teaching and learning in every classroom. Please know that I remain dedicated to Seattle Public Schools and will continue to partner with, and serve you all to the best of my ability in the months ahead.

While we may hold different opinions on how to best serve our students, we must remember they are counting on us to fulfill our mission of ensuring that they are prepared for college, career and life. It is essential that we discipline ourselves to keep this mission-and our students-at the forefront of all we do, and not allow adult issues, egos and politics to stand in the way.

I want to thank you for your support. I will be forever grateful for having had the opportunity to serve the students and community of Seattle.


Susan Enfield, Ed. D.
Interim Superintendent
Seattle Public Schools