How much superintendents are earning now, plus one way K-12 leaders are changing
Male superintendents continue to earn higher salaries than their female counterparts at the same time district leaders are getting younger, a survey released Wednesday reveals.
In a persistent trend, female superintendents earn approximately 96% of what male superintendents earn, according to the 2021-22 version of the annual “Superintendent Salary & Benefits Study” by AASA, The School Superintendents Association.
“This report is a longstanding resource that serves as one of the few reliable and comprehensive data sources on the working conditions of school system leaders in the nation,” said Daniel A. Domenech, AASA’s executive director. “It is now more important than ever, given the significant school staff turnover we are seeing across the country, to determine what it means for superintendents.”
Superintendents’ median salaries ranged from $105,000 to $228,541, depending on district enrollment. The median salaries identified in the 2020-21 report ranged from $140,172 to $180,500.
But the ranges likely don’t tell the complete picture at the higher end of the scale. In this year’s report, for instance, ASAA notes responses from superintendents of districts with more than 49,999 students were low and therefore “not useful for statistical purposes.”
Low responses also made it difficult for ASAA to gauge salaries variations among superintendents of different racial and ethnic groups, the survey noted.
The survey also found that K-12 superintendents are getting younger. In 2022, more than four in 10 (42.5%) were between 30 and 50, compared to 35.1% in the age range in 2012. Only about 10% of superintendents were over 60, compared to 19.4% in 2012.
Other major findings include:
- In terms of longevity, nearly half (46%) of respondents have five years or fewer experience as a superintendent
- Nearly 43% of respondents hold a doctorate in education (Ed.D.), followed by 38% with a master’s degree and 9.4% hold a doctoral research degree (Ph.D.)
- Where numbers are sufficient, a higher percentage of female superintendents hold an Ed.D. (48%), compared to males (41%)
The report also analyzed superintendents’ benefits packages, how often they receive performance evaluations, and what professional organizations they belong to.
What other educators are earning
The report also examined the salaries of principals, teachers, and other educators. The ratio of superintendent-to-teacher salaries ranged from more than 5-to-1 in larger districts to about 2.5-to-1 in smaller school systems.
Here are the salary ranges for other key positions, depending on district enrollment from less than 300 students to more than 100,000:
- High school principals: $78,000 to $115,000
- Middle school principals: $75,000 to $111,397
- Elementary school principals: $75,000 to $108,397
- Beginning teachers: $40,000 to $48,500
Click here to access a copy of the “2021-22 AASA Superintendent Salary & Benefits Study.” AASA members can access the full, members-only version through my.AASA.org.