Super Salaries

A survey of the highest-paid school superintendents across the Tulsa Metro area reveals they earn a combined $4,315,565, according to figures from the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
The survey of 36 supers included the leaders of all the school districts in Tulsa County, plus the top five salaried administrators in Creek, Osage, Rogers and Okmulgee counties. Also, the TBJ survey examined the top three super salaries in Pawnee and Wagoner counties.
The figures, obtained by a Freedom of Information request from the Tulsa Business Journal, are for the 2005-06 school year. Salaries and current enrollment figures for this year, 2006-07, will be available later this fall, according to Public Affairs specialist Shelly Hickman.
Of the 41 supers on the list, 78 percent have master’s degrees, according to the data supplied by the state education department. Eight of the supers, or nearly 22 percent, have doctorates.
All the supers listed in Okmulgee, Pawnee, Wagoner, Osage and four of the five supers in Rogers counties have master’s degrees. The one exception in Rogers County, Rick Thomas of Oologah-Talala Public Schools, is working on his doctorate.
The highest-paid superintendent is Tulsa Public School’s Michael Zolkoski.
The 58-year-old Zolkoski earns a base salary of $200,000 with benefits that total $43,005 for a total of $243,005. The benefits include life insurance, health and accident insurance and vision. “Other” benefits include a housing and car allowance.
The TPS voted unanimously to bring the top administrator of Brownsville, Texas, on board last summer.
Zolkoski is responsible for the state’s largest school district, with 42,000 students. He was selected from an original field of 45 candidates in 22 states.
Zolkoski succeeded the retiring David Sawyer, who was paid a base salary of $173,120 for the 2005-06 school year.
Zolkoski’s salary at Brownsville was $208,000.
Zolkoski had been Brownsville’s superintendent since 2003.
The San Antonio native has 20 years of experience as a superintendent, mainly in Texas.
Tulsa County superintendents were paid a total of $1,872,183 last year.
Behind Zolkoski is Union’s Cathy Burden. The Union administrator earned $198,838 in 2005-06 — including a base salary of $174,234 and benefits totaling $24,604.
Third highest paid in the county is Broken Arrow superintendent James Sisney. The BA administrator earned $157,316 — including a base salary of $156,646 and a benefits package of $670.
Those superintendents have earned their doctorate. The next two supers in Tulsa County have master’s degrees.
Gary Johnson of Skiatook earned a total of $137,599 last year in base pay and benefits. Lloyd Snow of Sand Springs collected $135,791.

Surrounding Counties
In Okmulgee County, the five highest-paid supers received a combined $584,578.
Paul McGee of Okmulgee Public earned a fifth of that amount, garnering a base salary of $102,652 and a benefits package of $11,870 for a total of $114,522.
Next in Okmulgee County was Billy Green of Dewar, who earned $95,223.
The top five highest paid superintendents in Rogers County earned a total of $498,861. Their base salary totaled $457,082 while their total fringe package brought in $41,779.
The highest paid super in Rogers County is Claremore’s Mike McClaren, with a total package of $112,954 — which includes a base salary of $105,047 and fringe benefits of $7,907. Rick Thomas of Oologah-Talala was next with a total package of $104,677.
Next was Creek County with a total of $490,644. Joe Crowder of Sapulpa Public Schools ranked first in salary. Crowder, who has earned his PhD, earned $116,000, which was highest even though he’s not paid any benefits, according to the OSDE records.
Next in line was Lone Star’s David Pritz. He earned $76,400 in base pay and $23,874 in benefits for a total of $100,274. ?

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