Only 25% of superintendents are women, but they do earn more than men in that position

For the sixth time in 11 years of collecting such data, the median salary of female superintendents slightly surpassed that of their male counterparts at $146,031.

Since its inception, the teaching profession has been dominated by women. Yet, the gender wage gap fails to be in their favor. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find that women only make up about one-fourth of superintendents. However, as far as their salaries go, they’re seemingly happy.

“Teachers are working under a compensation schedule, so there shouldn’t be opportunities for differential pay, but yet (the data) still shows up favoring men,” Michael Hanses, a senior fellow at Brookings’ Brown Center on Education Policy told USA today regarding teacher pay. According to a research brief he co-authored last week, female teachers would need a 7% bonus to make as much as men.

In a new survey released on Friday by The School Superintendent Association, the findings suggest that the pay gap is fairly balanced for those in leadership positions. The report, comprised of more than 2,400 responses from superintendents around the country, is a comprehensive study of the salaries and benefits of school superintendents.

For the sixth time in 11 years of tracking such data, the median salary of female superintendents slightly surpassed that of their male counterparts:

  • Female median salary: $146,031
  • Male median salary: $145,000

Most intriguingly, the report notes that this difference is not a cause of enrollment as female superintendents tend to work in smaller districts, nor is it a result of seniority. This year’s female respondents reported having fewer years under their belts as a superintendent.

Another important finding relates to superintendents’ average pay and district enrollment. Over the past decade, the median salary has boomed by nearly 15%. However, compared to last year’s numbers, salaries have decreased ever so slightly:

  • 2021-22 mean salary: $158,670
  • 2022-23 mean salary: 156,468

However, the data suggests that pay is directly impacted by district enrollment:

  • Fewer than 300 students: $106,000 median salary
  • 5,000-9,999 students: $200,000 median salary
  • 25,000-49,999 students: $258,000 median salary
  • 100,000 or more students: $297,500 median salary

“Readers must consider the data descriptive and not necessarily representative of all superintendents,” the survey reads. “The study is intended to provide superintendents with actionable information needed to negotiate and manage their compensation and benefits.”

More from DA: 4 ways to revolutionize teacher pay aside from offering $60,000 salaries

Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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