Superintendent shuffle: shakeups and salaries

This year’s round of school superintendent shuffles involves three of the highest-paid administrative jobs in the state.

Jodi Mills2
Jodie Mills, Caldwell School District interim superintendent.

Idaho Education News compiled superintendents’ salaries for 2014-15 — filing a public records request with the State Department of Education to obtain salary information submitted by districts, and seeking additional information from the districts. Idaho Education News also compiled charter school administrators’ salaries.

Among the findings from our research:

  • Glen Szymoniak, who left the McCall-Donnelly School District under unexplained circumstances in December, was under a $133,245 contract with the district. That made him the state’s seventh highest-paid superintendent. Jim Foudy, principal at McCall’s Barbara Morgan Elementary School, was named superintendent in April.
  • Chad Struhs stepped down as Blackfoot superintendent in May. He had been making $132,240 a year, ranking No. 9 among superintendents in the state. Brian Kress, the district’s business manager, has been named acting superintendent.
  • Tim Rosandick was ousted as Caldwell superintendent in June — also under unexplained circumstances. His $131,300 salary ranked 10th among district superintendents, and he will remain under contract for 2015-16, at a salary of $137,000, in what the district has called a consulting role. District curriculum director Jodie Mills has been named interim superintendent.

Several other districts have hired new superintendents over the past few months, or are in the hiring process. Among the highlights:

Pocatello: Doug Howell was named superintendent in April, succeeding Mary Vagner. (Vagner’s 2014-15 contract was for $124,663).

Tim McMurtrey

Mountain Home: James Gilbert was named superintendent in October when Tim McMurtrey announced his retirement. McMurtrey is now taking a job with the State Department of Education and state superintendent Sherri Ybarra, a former administrator in Mountain Home. (McMurtrey’s 2014-15 district contract was for $95,863.)

Preston: Marc Gee is leaving the top job at the Garden Valley district for the superintendent’s job in Preston. He will succeed Joel Wilson. (Wilson’s 2014-15 contract was worth $88,800; Gee’s contract in Garden Valley was worth $90,000).

Snake River: Mark Gabrylczyk is leaving the district, with two years left on his contract. (His 2014-15 contract was worth $86,000.)

Gooding: Spencer Larsen is taking the helm of the turbulent Gooding district, leaving the top post in the Butte County district. He succeeds Mary Larson, who resigned under fire earlier this year. (Larson’s 2014-15 contract was worth $90,000; Larsen’s contract in Butte County was worth $73,500.)

Horseshoe Bend: Dennis Chesnut, a principal in the Boise County district, is Horseshoe Bend’s fifth superintendent in three years. (Horseshoe Bend had two interim superintendents in 2014-15: Daniel Arriola, at a salary of $45,600; and Randy Schrader, who had no contract but worked for the district at a hourly rate of $50.)

Greg Alexander
Greg Alexander

Garden Valley: Greg Alexander was hired last month to succeed Gee. Alexander had worked as Ybarra’s director of school improvement and support, but his job was eliminated in May.

For 2014-15, Blaine County Superintendent GwenCarol Holmes received $168,000, the highest superintendent’s salary in Idaho. In North Idaho’s tiny Avery School District, superintendent Christopher Asbury received $35,956 for a half-time role.

Idaho’s highest-paid charter school administrator was Charles Kenna of Kootenai Bridge Academy in Coeur d’Alene, at $110,252. At the other end of the spectrum is Mary Gervase of the Syringa Mountain School in Hailey; her 2014-15 salary was $35,000.

Not every school district has a superintendent, or someone specifically assigned to the role. The same goes for charter school administrators. As a result, some districts and charter schools are not represented on the tables.

Idaho Education News data analyst Randy Schrader compiled salary information for this report. Schrader had worked for Horseshoe Bend as interim superintendent, on a contract basis.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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