ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Public school teacher salaries should start at $60,000, and excellent teachers should be able to earn as much as $150,000, according to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Increasing the pay and prestige of the teaching profession — along with accountability — is one of Duncan’s frequent refrains. So how much can a teacher earn in Albuquerque?
Excluding teachers who work extra class hours or summers, the district’s five top-earning teachers make $77,258.
There are 64 non-teachers in Albuquerque Public Schools who are paid more than that. Seventeen of them are principals. Most of the rest are central office administrators, who work year-round, eight hours per day. Teachers are on 183-day contracts, and their formal workday is 6½ hours long.
Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein said teachers who earn $77,258 are not typical. She said those teachers have decades of experience, and the average salary at APS is $43,000.
“I don’t believe that you should have to wait until the end of your career to make a decent salary. That doesn’t make any sense,” Bernstein said.
APS has 11,900 full-time salaried employees, of whom about 6,030 are teachers or librarians, who are grouped together in APS’ systems because they are on the same pay scale. An additional 1,850 are educational assistants and campus security aides.
Teachers in New Mexico are paid based on a three-tier licensure system, combined with years of experience. Tier 1 teachers make a minimum salary of $30,000, Tier 2 teachers make at least $40,000 and Tier 3 teachers make at least $50,000. Teacher salaries typically increase with years of experience, although teachers have not received raises for the past three years because of shrunken state budgets. APS teachers are also not expected to get raises in the coming year. The teachers making $77,000 have been teaching for more than 30 years.
Bernstein said the salary differences between teachers and administrators can drive good teachers out of the classroom, in APS and many districts nationwide.
“Why should you have to leave teaching to make top dollar in education?” she said.
Most administrators are paid based on a set salary schedule, which sets minimum and maximum pay, depending on job title and years of experience, said Andi Trybus, APS assistant superintendent for human resources. This is true of employees up to the level of directors and managers. The salaries of executive directors and associate superintendents are more flexible and can be negotiated with the superintendent. Like teachers, administrators are entering their fourth fiscal year without a raise.
Bernstein said teachers would be willing to work longer days or a longer school year, if they were paid competitive salaries. She said teachers should be paid well because of the importance of what they do.
“It seems to me that in this culture we pay for what we value. So somebody who’s starting out in sports, they’re paid based on the idea that they’ve been picked and we value sports, because sports are important to us,” Bernstein said. “So relatively speaking, how important is the next generation?”
Last year, school board member Kathy Korte voted against the APS budget, saying she did not think it placed enough emphasis on fully funding schools. She was then a freshman board member. A year later, Korte said she feels more confident in the way APS spends its operational dollars. However, she said the district still has an image problem when it comes to administration.
“I can tell you there still is a perception out there with teachers that we are too administratively top heavy, but I can’t tell you anymore that I think that’s a waste,” Korte said. “Last year I was new and probably would have said, ‘What a waste.’ A year later, you realize we did make 13.8 percent cuts in administrative departments, which is more than double what we asked schools to cut.”
Not all APS administrators make the big bucks. In fact, some of the higher-paid teachers would not see much, if any, salary increase if they became a principal or director of procurement, for example — but then they would be working 11 months versus nine months.
After perusing the list of top administration salaries, Korte said she is not worked up about them.
“A lot of these folks, I know work their butts off,” Korte said. She gave the example of Brad Winter, the APS chief operating officer who earns $136,680 annually.
“Dr. Winter, on weather days he’s up at three in the morning dealing with pipes and things,” Korte said. “That guy works all the time, he’s always on call. And so people on the outside wouldn’t know that. They might say, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s ridiculous.’ But most of those people on that list, I do see how hard they work, and I can’t say they’re getting overpaid for their jobs.”
|Don Moya||Chief Financial Officer||$165,000|
|Linda Sink||Chief Academic Officer||$136,680|
|Brad Winter||Chief Operating Officer||$136,680|
|Eddie Soto||Associate Superintendent||$117,300|
|Diane Kerschen||Associate Superintendent||$117,300|
|Raquel Reedy||Associate Superintendent||$117,300|
|Diego Gallegos||Assistant Superintendent||$117,300|
|Andi Trybus||Assistant Superintendent||$117,300|
|Lynn Harris||Chief Information Officer||$115,000|
|William Barker||JROTC Coordinator||$107,326 *|
|Monica Armenta||Communications Executive Director||$106,776|
|Rose-Ann McKernan||Research and Accountability Executive Dir.||$106,776|
|Karen Alarid||Capital Executive Director||$104,600|
|Karen Rudys||Human Resources Executive Director||$104,000|
|Tami Coleman||Accounting Executive Director||$104,000|
|Ruben Hendrickson||Budget Executive Director||$104,000|
|John Dufay||Operations Executive Director||$104,000|
|Anne Tafoya||Special Education Executive Director||$104,000|
|Brenda Yager||Board Services Executive Director||$104,000|
|William Silva||Counselor||$95,206 **|
|Martha West||High School Teacher||$92,710 **|
|John Lopez||High School Teacher||$92,710 **|
|Katy Harvey||High School Principal||$92,000|
|Robert Ortega||JROTC Instructor||$91,134 *|
|Gilbert Alexander||IT Director||$90,545|
|Rebecca Almeter||Director of Secondary Design||$89,820|
|Jo Sloan||High School Principal||$89,600|
|Ray Lowe||JROTC Instructor||$89,200 *|
|Steve Tellez||Chief of Police||$89,040|
|Joseph Escobedo||Chief of Staff||$89,000|
|Gary Gomez||JROTC Instructor||$88,410 *|
|Shelly Green||High School Principal||$88,400|
|Phill Casaus||Foundation Director||$88,123|
|Therese Carroll||High School Principal||$87,200|
|Ben Santistevan||High School Principal||$87,200|
|Frank Zentner||JROTC Instructor||$86,678 *|
|Scott Elder||High School Principal||$86,000|
|Sheila Hyde||Professional Development Director||$85,000|
|Kizito Wijenje||Capital Master Plan Director||$85,000|
|Don Mulder||Middle School Teacher||$84,984 **|
|Todd Resch||High School Principal||$83,600|
|Elena Salazar||High School Principal||$82,416|
|Dolores Vigil||Principal Support||$82,415|
|Martin Sandoval||High School Principal||$81,600|
|Yvonne Garcia||High School Principal||$81,600|
|Anthony Griego||High School Principal||$81,600|
|Karen Sanchez-Griego||High School Principal||$81,600|
|Tim McCorkle||High School Principal||$81,600|
|Patricia Wagner||Instructional Coordinator||$81,142|
|Mona Corcoran-Sherrell||Special Education Director||$81,013|
|Nancy Calloway||Special Education Psychologist||$80,585|
|Janet Kahn||Fine Arts Manager||$80,557|
|Stanley Pena||Alternative School Principal||$80,500|
|Michael Bachicha||Middle School Principal||$80,500<|
|Nikki Dennis||Alternative School Principal||$80,500|
|Kenneth Cole||Tech Services Director||$80,370|
|Michael Beno||JROTC Instructor||$80,286 *|
|Michael Hunter||JROTC Instructor||$80,049 *|
|Debra Hamilton||Mentor Principal||$80,000|
|Jacqueline Costales||Support Principal||$80,000|
|Connie Fasanella||Alternative School Principal||$80,000|
|Richard Bowman||Harvard Data Fellow||$80,000|
|Thomas Genne||Research and Accountability Director||$80,000|
|Sara Sanchez||Curriculum and Instruction Director||$79,999|
|Teresa Brito-Asenap||Extended Learning Director||$79,822|
|Mary Swift||Food and Nutrition Director||$79,821|
|Leah Gutierrez||Instructional Manager||$79,577|
|Jocelyn Amberg||High School Teacher||$79,457 **|
|Deborah Duncan||Special Education Director||$79,397|
|Toby Herrera||Service Center Director||$79,291|
|Donald Finney||JROTC Instructor||$78,434 *|
|Lisa Scheuner||Health and Wellness Manager||$78,184|
|Shayne Kendall||Student Information Director||$77,999|
|Mark Hendricks||JROTC Instructor||$77,943 *|
|David Ostrovitz||High School Teacher||$77,563 **|
|Jeanne Collin-Smith||Special Education Psychologist||$77,520|
|Joseph Cabarrus||High School Teacher||$77,358 **|
*JROTC salaries are split between APS and the military.
**Works more than full time.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal