ENID, Okla. —
Shawn Hime, superintendent of Enid Public Schools since 2008, is leaving the district to become executive director of Oklahoma State School Board Association.
Hime’s duties there begin April 1, but his last day with EPS has not been determined, said Amber Fitzgerald, human resources and communications director.
Longtime EPS school board member Willa Jo Fowler, also OSSBA president, led the regional search for the OSSBA executive officer. Earlier this week, the OSSBA board of directors gave Hime the job.
“Mr. Hime has provided tremendous leadership to Enid Public Schools over the last six years, and now his efforts will benefit schoolchildren across the state,” Fowler said. “His knowledge of state and school finance is unparalleled, and he understands how decisions at the state Capitol impact children in the classroom. He is respected by parents, educators, administrators, school board members, business leaders, legislators and more. His leadership is needed at this pivotal and critical time in Oklahoma school history.”
The news of Hime’s pending departure took community leaders by surprise.
“That’s a big loss,” said Stan Tatum, CEO of St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. “He does a great job.”
“I’m happy for him, but I’m disappointed,” said Enid City Manager Eric Benson. “It’s a great opportunity for him, but he’s been a tremendous asset for Enid, as well as a personal friend.”
“He’s done a great job for Enid,” said Roydon Tilley, superintendent of Chisholm Public Schools.
“I offer my congratulations to Shawn and look forward to continuing to work with him in his new position,” said Janet Barresi, Oklahoma state superintendent.
During Hime’s time at EPS, the district has made significant growth in the areas of academic success and facility quality, Fitzgerald said.
Hime oversaw the planning and implementation of more than $99 million in building improvements, including construction of two new elementary schools and a University Center at Enid High School. He also helped secure more than $5 million in private donations for district initiatives.
The district expanded all pre-kindergarten classes to full-day programs. Additionally, district enrollment has grown by more than 1,400 students during his tenure, reaching 7,850 students in the current school year.
Hime expressed appreciation for the support the Enid community has demonstrated, not only for the district, but for him and his family.
“Serving the students of Enid Public Schools has been an honor and one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Hime said. “They deserve the best education in the nation; in fact, all Oklahoma children do. I am excited to begin this new journey, where I can help make a difference for every young learner in our state. Locally elected school board members play a critical role in the quality of public education and — along with parents and educators — understand what is best for children in their communities.
“I look forward to working with them to ensure they have the resources, services and representation they need to ensure all decisions — at the local- and state-level — are made in the best interest of students.”
Hime has received numerous statewide awards, including District 3 Superintendent of the Year from Oklahoma Association of School Administrators and Administrator of the Year from Oklahoma School Public Relations Association.
Before coming to Enid, Hime served as a teacher and building- and district-level administrator for Ardmore Public Schools, as well as other districts. He is a former Oklahoma State Department of Education assistant state superintendent, where his responsibilities included management of state aid, school financial accounting, school personnel records, transportation, transfers and capital improvement. In addition, he collaborated with state legislators on pending legislation and its impact on public schools.
Jenny Webster, Enid Board of Education president, said the work begun by Hime will continue.
“Mr. Hime has transformed education for our students and for our community, and there are not words to say thank you enough,” Webster said. “Enid is an education leader, and we are setting and exceeding the pace for others in the state. We are making strides in the classroom, we are working to recruit and retain the best teachers, and our students now attend schools in safe and first-class buildings. Thousands of students have benefited from Mr. Hime’s leadership and innovation. It is momentum that we will build on in the future. The tradition of excellence will continue.”
Webster said the school board will hold a special meeting soon to discuss the upcoming superintendent search.
Fitzgerald said the last superintendent search lasted about three months.
Julie Miller, deputy executive director of OSSBA, said the length of time it can take to find a new school superintendent varies.
“Enid is a district that will garner a great deal of interest,” Miller said. “The board will most likely establish a timeline for the search at an upcoming meeting. The OSSBA offers assistance with the search process in several formats. The most popular process involves the use of a consultant that assists with the paperwork process and includes background checks, compilation of the resumes, scheduling interviews, arranging meeting space, etc.”
OSSBA is a statewide organization that promotes quality public education for Oklahoma children through training and information services to school board members. The association is a leader in Oklahoma education and a visible presence in local school districts and throughout the state.