School & District Management

Superintendents’ Salaries and Their Plans for Next Year, in Charts

By Caitlynn Peetz — March 15, 2023 1 min read
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Nearly 90 percent of superintendents plan to stay in their jobs next year, according to the results of a new survey released last week by AASA, The School Superintendents Association.

The insight is notable, especially as high-profile superintendent ousters make headlines, and a handful of recent surveys have found district leader turnover has risen recently, especially in the nation’s largest school districts. Other surveys have found that large percentages of superintendents have considered leaving their posts.

AASA’s annual report—for which the association collected survey responses from 2,443 superintendents in 49 states—offers a unique glimpse into superintendents’ demographics and employment conditions, including salary and contract details.

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The report was released as some states consider putting a ceiling on how much superintendents can be paid.

AASA’s survey results suggest the average superintendent salary has actually decreased slightly in the past year, from $158,670 to $156,468. That level represents an increase, however, from a decade ago, when the average salary was $123,775.

Here are some numerical highlights from AASA’s survey.

The superintendency remains overwhelmingly male, but there is slightly more diversity among women leaders

52   The median age of school superintendents. More than half of respondents, 53 percent, said they were between 51 and 60. The next most common age range was 41-50, with 31 percent of respondents.

89   The percentage of respondents who identified as white. Black superintendents made up the second largest group, at about 4 percent. About 3 percent of superintendents were Hispanic or Latino. There was slightly more diversity among women superintendents, with about 86 percent identifying as white, compared with 90 percent of male superintendents. Ten years ago, AASA found that 93 percent of district leaders were white.

73   The percentage of superintendents who identified as men.

47.5   The percentage of superintendents with five years of experience as a superintendent or less. Twenty-eight percent had six to 10 years of experience.

89   The percentage of superintendents who plan to continue serving as superintendent in their current district next year.

Superintendents most commonly have three-year contracts

52   The percentage of superintendents believe their district is in stable economic condition, while 32.5 percent think their district is in declining economic condition. About 35 percent of superintendents last year said their district was in declining economic condition.

$156,468   The average salary of superintendents, down from $158,670 the previous year. The median salary increases with enrollment.

75   The percentage of superintendents who say their employment agreements do not include specific processes for handling complaints or criticism.

3   The length, in years, of about two-fifths of superintendent contracts. Twenty percent reported having two-year contracts.

32   The percentage of superintendents who used legal counsel to assist in the development of their contracts. Women were more likely to seek legal assistance (41 percent) than men (29 percent).

56   The percentage of school districts that used legal counsel to help negotiate their superintendent’s contract. Districts were more likely to employ legal assistance for women’s contracts (63.5 percent) than men's (53 percent).

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