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Washoe County School District welcomes new superintendent

Susan Enfield
Washoe County School District

Susan Enfield

Originally aired: May 3, 2022

Washoe County School District will get a new superintendent over the summer.

The district’s board of trustees voted last week to tap Dr. Susan Enfield to lead the district starting in June.

Enfield is currently the superintendent of the Highline Public Schools in Burien, Washington, a district with about 17,000 students in the suburbs of Seattle.

She’ll take over as the thirteenth superintendent of Nevada’s second-largest school district from Kristen McNeill who is set to retire at the end of the school year.

She joined the board during the interim process and said they looked for candidates with certain qualities such as an education background, understanding of the community and demographics of the school district and surrounding area.

Morale is low in school district nationwide, including Washoe County. Nevada has some of the highest class sizes in the country.

“We have 8,000 employees, how do we pull them back and, ‘Hey, we're in this thing together. You are important. You are valued,’” she said.

The incoming superintendent also needed to understand the challenges of reaching kids on the fringe.

“How do we make sure that we reach those kids that maybe we aren't reaching? How do we make sure those kids don't get lost? Because we're paying attention to those kids that need a little bit of extra help,” she said. “So more individualized needs, taking care of students, and not just from a social emotional standpoint, but part of it, but also I want my kids to get the best opportunity that they can get.”

Enfield graduated from UC Berkeley and got her doctorate at Harvard.

The average superintendent stays about three years, but many policies take up to 12 years – the education lifespan – the grow and reach goals.

Enfield was at Highland for 10 years, Taylor said.

What will ultimately matter, she said, is consistency, because then the board “can move forward together and then make some progress for kids.”

Angie Taylor, president, Washoe County School District Board of Trustees

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Paul serves as KNPR's producer and reporter in Northern Nevada. Based in Reno, Paul specializes in covering state government and the legislature.