The results are in: Seattle residents love Superintendent Susan Enfield and, well, are not so in love with the Seattle School Board and the central administration.
That is what a recent survey of community members said, which was conducted by Elway Research Inc., and, ironically in light of Enfield's decision to leave, directed by Seattle School Board. Here are a few highlights:
- The survey showed that overall people were fairly satisfied with the way students were taught and what direction the school was taking. Teachers received a 81 percent favorable rating and 48 percent of people thought the school district was headed in the right direction.
- Of those who had an opinion, many thought Enfield was doing well in her new position, with 37 percent favorable and 8 percent unfavorable.
- Many were not so fond of the Seattle School Board, however, with 33 percent favorable, 34 percent unfavorable.
- The Central Administration was even worse off, with 23 percent favorable and 32 percent unfavorable.
The School Board had originally wanted the survey to help determine whether they should hire a new superintendent or keep Enfield. If board members saw that the perception of Enfield was lacking, they might have considered another candidate. This was before news broke that she would not be seeking a permanent position.
The district said this afternoon that proposals for a survey were originally requested Sept. 23 and a contract was signed during the week of Oct. 24. That would be before the November election that brought two new school board members. Enfield announced her decision not to seek the permanent position as superintendent in mid-December. The survey's timing was to help the new board in its decision making, School Board President Michael DeBell said. He noted that the entire timeline for a hiring decision had been set up with the idea that whoever was on the board after the election and the superintendent would need to be comfortable with one another.
The survey asked questions about what qualities respondents thought were most important in a superintendent. Four of the eight qualities listed were considered essential: providing leadership and motivation to school district teachers and staff; experience and background in education; the ability to articulate a clear vision for the future of Seattle Schools; and the ability to communicate with internal and external constituencies.
Board President DeBell said he thought Enfield excelled in many of the criteria and that she was doing her job rather well. He had only one word to say on how he felt about her decision to leave: