Bart Banfield begins his day at 5 a.m. He takes time to “sharpen his saw” by reading books, listening to podcasts and doing other things that enrich his personal development.

“I am feeding myself so I can feed others,” he said.

And by all accounts, that’s exactly what the new superintendent of EPIC Charter Schools does – he makes sure others’ needs are met. Described by his colleagues and those who have known him his entire life as a “natural-born leader,” the former EPIC assistant superintendent of instruction seems born for the role he assumed June 1 of this year with the state’s fifth largest public school system.

EPIC’s former superintendent and its first superintendent since being founded as a school in 2011 was David Chaney. EPIC’s growth required Chaney to wear fewer hats to optimize his leadership contributions and focus more intently on continued innovation in other key areas of the school. Banfield was the ideal administrator to whom to pass the baton, Chaney said, because he had led EPIC’s instructional department for five years and because of his unique 20 years of experience in Oklahoma public education, which includes being a teacher, principal, coach and brick-and-mortar superintendent.

Banfield also is the son of an educator. His father, Bob, spent 44 years as a basketball coach and teacher and it was the elder Banfield who inspired his son to become a public educator.

“I grew up with a basketball in my hand basically since I was born,” Bart said, adding that the sport taught him about teamwork, discipline, work ethic and adversity. “These are lessons that, when you’re going through them, can be painful at the time, but later on in life, you realize that becomes the foundation on which you live your life.”