By Nicholas Johnson

As Highline Public Schools kicks off its search for a new superintendent to replace Susan Enfield, the school district is asking students, families, teachers, school staff and the rest of the community to weigh in this month through a survey and two community forums.

“The next month of the superintendent search process is really focused on engagement,” Erinn Bennett, the district’s director of special projects, told the school board during its Nov. 3 meeting.

Available in English, Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese, the brief survey asks about the school district’s strengths and challenges as well as what priorities and professional characteristics the next superintendent ought to have. The survey, which is anonymous, will be available through Nov. 24.

On top of that, a virtual community forum is set for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 on Zoom while an in-person community forum is set for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29 at the district’s central office, 15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW in Burien. Due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, space is limited for the in-person forum, and attendees must sign up in advance to attend either of them.

The community’s feedback will inform development of a “Leadership Profile Report,” which will be presented to the school board in December and will guide the district’s national candidate search led by Illinois-based consulting firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA).

Five search firms responded to the district’s September request for proposals. The board voted unanimously Oct. 6 to work with HYA after interviewing three finalists during a Sept. 29 work session.

“Our team is familiar with the unique characteristics, culture, and opportunities of Highline Public Schools,” HYA wrote in its proposal, “and we are confident our search process will allow us to recruit candidates that would be a great fit for Highline.”

According to its proposal, HYA’s services will cost the district $24,500. The other two finalists’ proposals – Iowa-based Ray and Associates, Inc. and California-based Human Capital Enterprises – would have cost the district $19,500 and $31,100, respectively.

The school board’s goal is to select a candidate sometime in late February, if not early March, of 2022. The new superintendent would start July 1, taking over for Enfield, who plans to leave the district after 10 years at its helm.


Nicholas Johnson (he/him) is an award-winning writer, editor and photographer who grew up in Boulevard Park, graduated from Highline High School and studied journalism at Western Washington University. Send news tips, story ideas and positive vibes to [email protected].