Washington STEM is excited to welcome Dr. Susan Enfield, superintendent of Highline Public Schools, to our Board of Directors. Growing up in San Francisco, Susan saw the gender gap in STEM in her own schooling when the boys’ school had better science labs than her all-girls’ school. To this day she scans STEM classrooms to determine the male-to-female ratio to see how far we’ve come and need to go to decrease the gender gap in STEM interest and participation. Highline is working with STEM-PD on a job-embedded studio model for teachers focused on math and science education to help prepare them, and students, for the rigorous Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards, as well as the STEM workforce across Washington.
Why is STEM education important to you?
STEM education is important to me because as a superintendent my goal is not just that our students graduate successfully with a high school diploma but my real goal is that they graduate prepared for the post-secondary and career options of their choice. More importantly, I feel as educators we don’t just have obligations to our students to ensure that they have a successful future and that we are preparing them accordingly but also an obligation to the communities we serve and understanding our local context. And, while STEM education and STEM careers have national prominence and significance, it’s undeniable that in the Puget Sound region the number of jobs and careers in STEM related fields abound. The research is also clear that we are not preparing locally the workforce that we need to fill those jobs. So as a school superintendent I feel that it is a big part of my responsibility to change that statistic.
What about Washington STEM excites you the most?
We need Washington STEM. While as school districts we recognize the need and responsibility we have to strengthening STEM and increasing awareness, our focus is on investing in our people to teach our courses well and expose our kids. We really need help in highlighting STEM education and career opportunities to our kids and families. I think Washington STEM raises the level of awareness around the need for high quality STEM education, but, more importantly, that really high quality STEM education is not an end in and of itself. We are preparing kids for incredibly important, lucrative jobs that do and will exist if we prepare our students for them and set them on a path that they are really conscious of, aware of, and prepared for. And districts just can’t do that alone.
About joining our board:
I am really honored to be a part of such a great group of people and an organization focusing on an issue that I believe is terribly important. I see board membership as an incredible learning opportunity. I know as a board member I have a much broader lens of looking at STEM across the state, but I’m going to look to be a learner as well for what as a leader in Highline I can do to move our STEM work in the months and years ahead. I hope I can contribute as much as I learn.
Learn more about Susan on our website.