Two Hundred Superintendents Earning Six Figures

August 4, 2011

A CapitolBeatOK examination of Oklahoma public school data has found a total of 202 public school superintendents who are paid more than $100,000 a year. Of that group, 22 make more than $147,000, the salary of Oklahoma’s governor.

CapitolBeatOK studied fresh data, accurate as of April 14, 2011, for the salaries of local school superintendents in Oklahoma in the 2010-2011 school year. The information was gathered by state officials for state Rep. David Dank, an Oklahoma City Republican, who provided the information to CapitolBeatOK.

The highest pay among the 22 best-paid superintendents goes to Kirby Lehman of Jenks, earning total compensation of $266,917 this year for supervising a district of 10,371 students. The cost per student for his salary is $25.74.

On a per student basis, the best-compensated superintendent among the top 22 was Gloria Griffin of Millwood, making $155.67 per student in her charge. Griffin had total compensation of $170,149, with a student enrollment of 1,093. The second best-paid on a per student basis in the top 22 is James Sisney of Sperry. He gets $120.15 per student, with total compensation of $147,300, in a district with 1,226 students.

Among the best-paid 22 superintendents in Oklahoma, the lowest compensated on a per student basis is Oklahoma City’s Karl Springer. He is paid $4.05 per student. His total compensation is $174,114.

The 22 highest-paid public school superintendents in the state of Oklahoma, and their salaries, are:

In addition to these 22, another 180 superintendents earn more than $100,000 a year.

Previously, CapitolBeatOK examined common education spending at the district level, poring over state government records and some district data. Three issues stood out in that investigation.

The first is the number of separate school systems, even in some of Oklahoma’s smallest communities. Oklahoma towns and cities generally have their own schools and often their own districts, even if other systems are only 10 or 15 minutes away.

Second—keeping in mind the first issue—a startling number of small towns have multiple school districts. The community of Stilwell, for example, has seven districts in a town with a population of 4,000.

Third, and perhaps most surprising, rural school systems enjoy low student/teacher ratios, usually around 11-1. Statewide, the average is reported as 16-1.

By Pat McGuigan and Stacy Martin