Charter administrator collects state’s highest K-12 salary

A North Idaho charter school administrator has moved into the state’s top slot for K-12 pay.

Thomson and his wife, fellow North Idaho Charter STEM Academy founder Colleen Thomson.

North Idaho Charter STEM Academy Executive Director and co-founder Scott Thomson’s $193,500-a-year salary is No. 1 on the latest statewide K-12 salaries list, state numbers show.

Thomson’s pay surpasses annual salaries of leaders in the state’s largest and wealthiest districts, and that of the governor.

It also represents a changeup in recent years. No charter leader cracked the Top 20 in 2017, and Thomson’s the only one to do so this year.

The Rathdrum-based school is often a top performer in terms of student achievement in Idaho, but its student body is relatively small, at around just 560 students. By contrast, Idaho’s largest school district, West Ada, serves nearly 40,000.

North Idaho STEM Academy board chair Dan Tesulov did not respond to questions about Thomson’s salary.

Salaries for Thomson and other top-paid educators also surpass those of top state leaders. An EdNews review of current salary contracts found the top 20 Idaho school administrators make between $147,000 and $193,500. Idaho Gov. Brad Little makes $138,302, and state superintendent Sherri Ybarra earns $117,556.

Click here for a 2021-22 list of administrator and teacher salaries statewide. Here’s a Top 20 list:

Scott Thomson (North Idaho STEM Charter Academy) $193,500.
Coby Dennis (Boise) $183,604.
Derek Bub (West Ada) $175,000.
James Foudy (Blaine County) $168,000.
Shalene French (Caldwell) $166,771.
Shon Hocker (Coeur d’Alene) $165,000.
Thomas Albertson (Lake Pend Oreille) $159,705.
Lisa Roberts (Boise, assistant superintendent) $158,417.
Scott Woolstenhulme (Bonneville) $156,150.
Douglas Howell (Pocatello-Chubbuck) $155,945.
Bret Heller (West Ada, assistant superintendent) $155,001.
Paula Kellerer  (Nampa) $152,967.
James Shank (Idaho Falls) $150,000.
Dena Naccarato (Post Falls) $148,800.
Rebecca Anderson (Boise administrator) $147,202.
Debbie Donovan (Boise administrator) $147,202.
Nicolas Smith (Boise administrator) $147,202.
Teri Thaemert (Boise administrator) $147,202.
Brian Walker (Boise administrator) $147,202.
Lance Hansen (Lewiston) $147,000.

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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