The Seattle School Board is jump-starting efforts to recruit a new superintendent who can take over next July when interim schools chief Susan Enfield's contract expires.

Enfield surprised many observers on Friday when she issued a statement saying she did not want to be a candidate for the full-time job.

School Board President Michael DeBell said the next step is soliciting bids from executive recruitment firms specializing in high-level government jobs. The board wants to settle on a final bid in January so that the recruiting firm and board members can work through the winter and spring to find the right candidate.

The goal is to announce a hire in June, DeBell said.

Last July, the School Board budgeted $100,000 for the superintendent search. Some of that money has been spent on surveys and town hall meetings with parents and others interested in the process, but most of it remains unspent.

Enfield took over the school system in March after her predecessor, Maria Goodloe-Johnson, was fired after a state audit found the district's small-business contracting program provided little or no public benefit. The man who directed that program, Silas Potter, is now facing criminal charges that he and two co-defendants bilked $250,000 from the district.

Reporting by KING 5's Ed White.

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