Mississippi Superintendent of Education Carey Wright is the highest paid state schools chief in the country, according to an analysis by Education Week.
With a salary of $300,000, Wright, who was appointed in 2013, ranked first in the trade publication’s review of state superintendent salaries.
Education Week reported on average state superintendents are paid $174,000.
In a state with one of the nation’s lowest per-pupil spending rates, Wright’s salary stands out as somewhat of an outlier.
That might be partly because of an unofficial precedence set by a former state law mandating that the state education chief’s salary be 90 percent of what the state’s commissioner of higher education makes.
That law was phased out at the time of Wright’s appointment. And state Board of Education members haven't quite kept up with the trend. Commissioner Glenn Boyce makes $385,000, meaning Wright’s salary would have to be $346,500 in order to align with the former statute.
The analysis also found that board-appointed state chiefs on average make $223,000. That’s $108,000 more than the average state-elected chiefs make. And $65,000 more than the average governor-appointed state chiefs make.
Florida Superintendent Pam Stewart is the second-highest paid in the nation with a salary of $276,000. Louisiana Superintendent John White is the third highest-with a salary of $275,000. Colorado State Superintendent Kathy Annes makes the fourth highest at $255,000. Mary Ellen Elia, commissioner of the New York State Education Department, comes in fifth at $250,000.
Mississippi is one of nine states where state superintendents are paid more than the superintendent of the state’s largest school district.
A full comparison of state superintendent salaries can be found at edweek.org.