Top 10 Highest Paid Superintendents in Nassau County

Total compensation packages all surpass $350,000.

Dr. Lorna Lewis, superintendent of Plainview Schools. (Photo credit: POB Schools)
Dr. Lorna Lewis, superintendent of Plainview Schools. (Photo credit: POB Schools)

Written and Reported by Matt Hogan

Ever wonder how much a superintendent could make in Nassau County?

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) recently made available the pay for most of the superintendents in the state.

The highest 10 wages in Nassau County all eclipse $350,000, with one nearly surpassing $550,000.

Plainview's Superintendent, Dr. Lorna Lewis, made the list, coming in at No. 10, with a total compensation package of $356,782, the records indicate.

By comparison, Syosset's superintendent, Dr. Carole Hankin, was again atop the state list. Hankin is retiring in the fall, but will have a total compensation package of $549,262, records indicate.

School districts throughout New York reported their numbers to the NYSED. Although the data is self-reported by each individual school district and is unaudited, it does “not necessarily represent the whole state as there are districts that are not required to report the data. In addition, some districts may not use certain titles.”

The superintendent wages are broken up into three categories and then added together for a grand total. The three categories include “salaries,” “fringe” and “other.”

The NYSED defines the three categories as follows:

  • Salaries: The wages budgeted on an annual basis for the position.
  • Fringe: Fringe benefits are allowances and services provided by employers as compensation in addition to regular salaries and wages. The cost of fringe benefits includes employer contributions for social security, employee life, health, unemployment and worker’s compensation insurance, pension plan costs and other similar benefits allowable under established written policies.
  • Other: The annualized monetary value of any and all forms of compensation not included under Salaries or Fringe for Type 1 or 2 positions. Examples include (but are not limited to) employer expenses for additional insurance and/or annuities, housing allowance, moving allowance, the personal use of a vehicle and/or residence, professional organization membership fees or dues, and other expenses.
Highest Paid Superintendents in Nassau County
  1. Syosset Central School District: $405,244 (salary); $92,018 (fringe); $52,000 (other); $549,262 (total) *Note* - Syosset Superintendent Carole Hankin will retire in October.
  2. Jericho Union Free School District: $288,794; $97,820; $62,011; $448,625
  3. Rockville Centre Union Free School District: $321,712; $88,311; $20,000; $430,023
  4. Hewlett-Woodmere Union Free School District: $310,000; $95,933; $24,047; $429,980
  5. North Shore Central School District: $290,617; $75,227; $26,314; $392,158
  6. Great Neck Union Free School District: $270,000; $80,699; $41,000; $391,699
  7. Locust Valley Central School District: $280,000; $76,866; $15,800; $372,666
  8. Roslyn Union Free School District: $275,940; $74,897; $15,000; $365,837
  9. Garden City Union Free School District: $267,903; $97,273; $0; $365,176
  10. Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District: $265,000; $85,782; $6,000; $356,782

Penquin August 15, 2013 at 01:39 PM
My father was an educator too. However, I don't understand why these positions are worth 1/2 million per year. These are civil servants with lifetime benefits. No disrespect intended for educators - I respect them. But to make a CEO salary for civil service is too much. Certainly, maxing out at $200K would be a nice salary with lifetime benefits.
Sue schiller August 15, 2013 at 07:43 PM
It's amazing, that the teachers always complain of not getting their fair share for the work they do, and at budget times we taxpayers always hear how the kids programs are going to be cut if taxes do not go up and still these top level people make lifetime salaries that most taxpayers can not afford for themselves. What is wrong with this picture... We are lead to believe that teaching is a sacrifice that they do it for the cause, after reading this I for one doubt it...
Joe Dowd (Editor) August 16, 2013 at 12:16 AM
A little perspective on this: Dr. Lewis is like the CEO of a mid-sized company, as are all the superintendents statewide. And finding good superintendents is competitive. I looked over the entire state's figures, and Plainview's stacked up evenly with superintendent's compensation upstate, and I mean, way upstate, where the cost of living is not nearly Long Island. The only out of line number appears to be Syosset, which is really off the scale. I understand your pain about the taxes. I'd like to hear more comments on this subject. jd
LS August 16, 2013 at 12:23 AM
I agree with the two previous comments. The salaries that our school districts pay are far in excess of reasonable. The districts have perhaps 5,000 students, yet the people are paid more than the chancellor of New York City, with approximately a million students and arguably some much more serious challenges. The amounts cited include salaries, benefits, and perks such as car or housing allowances. At the salaries shown, I seriously question the need for a "housing allowance" when the taxpayers who pay their salaries through our very steep taxes don't make anywhere near that much money. There is a website seethroughny.net where the salaries of public employees, including educators, can be reviewed. It is a real eye-opener. But when it's time to tighten the budget belt, the first cuts threatened are the kids programs.
wouldya1 August 16, 2013 at 08:26 AM
Their salary is way to much period! Making more than the President is absolutely disgusting. This why our taxes are so high and residents can't afford to live here anymore and move to another part of the Country.
Penquin August 16, 2013 at 10:20 AM
No disrespect to Dr. Lewis or any other educator. They work hard. But Mr. Dowd, most business folks, including CEO's don't get pensions and health benefits upon retirements. Remember, business is for profit as opposed to civil service.
Tyler Hughes August 20, 2013 at 09:57 AM
I'm only a high school student, but I'm pretty interested in this topic of school districts on Long Island. I recently did all the math and found out that the total spent compensating Long Island's 120 or so superintendents is $34.7 million!!! Meanwhile in most of the country there is rarely more than one superintendent per county.
Joe Dowd (Editor) August 27, 2013 at 04:41 AM
Tyler: Really great point, with a big "but." Many of those school districts are much, much bigger than Plainview or Farmingdale or anything around Long Island. I'm familiar with those in Alexandria, Va., for example. Those schools are awful, by comparison to our in New York. The reason is we have local control over them, to a degree. That's why the taxes are so high. You get what you pay for. A Plainview education counts, believe me, when it comes to the future. Not so everywhere else.
Joe Dowd (Editor) August 27, 2013 at 04:47 AM
Tyler: Part II. We are losing that local control because of state mandates such as "common core" curriculum mandated by the state and imposed by the federal government. Ask any teacher, anywhere: Teaching to the test is not education. It is indoctrination, and is doomed to failure. My kids are heading to college now, but I wouldn't have allowed them to sit through the torment of those standardized tests. Wouldn't have sent them to school that day.
Joe Dowd (Editor) August 27, 2013 at 04:50 AM
Lori: But don't CEOs get golden parachutes and stock options and pay often much higher than a quarter-million a year? What would you say is fair for a lifetime of work to get to the top of a school district? Again, if the free market sets the price, and this is the going rate, how would you reduce the salaries?
Tyler Hughes August 27, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Joe Dowd: it's really a case-by-case basis. Sure, countywide schools in NC or Florida may seem awful, but Maryland also uses the countywide system and has the country's best schools. Likewise, just because a school district is small doesn't mean it's good. Sure, a Plainview education may seem better than one from Alexandria, VA, but what about Montgomery County, MD compared to Wyandanch? And just for the record, the smallest district on Long Island by physical size is Roosevelt.
LS August 30, 2013 at 02:02 PM
I don't believe there is any justification for paying school superintendents more than the governor, and even the governor has said so. I agree that our schools are doing a good job, but it's a matter of proportion, and all our school staff are paid too much. You said elsewhere, Joe, that Plainview is becoming richer. Of course it is: only the rich can afford to pay the taxes here; the middle class are being driven out. I really don't understand your adamance on this issue, comparing superintendents to CEO's. CEO's work for profit-making ventures, while superintendents are paid by the taxpayers. Those who choose to work for a government entity must accept that they are not going to be paid like the private sector--from our president and congress to our governors and local officials. Also, keep in mind that the chancellor of New York City schools makes less than our LI superintendents, but runs a system with a million students and something like 100,000 pedagogical employees.
Sue schiller August 30, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Joe, if the theory is that plainview has more rich people and can pay more, then we should expect more from those we pay for services we want. First what happens when the kids of these parents finish school and the parents move away taking the money and the kids can not get jobs or afford to stay? Second, more houses in plainview are showing up on the foreclosed list every day, that means no tax money for those properties are being paid. So who makes up the difference? Why is it if everyone is concerned about the education that it is always the programs for students that get cut if the money is not there to pay teachers benefits and pensions?
LS August 31, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Our taxes now are astronomical, taking up a huge chunk of our family income. If they get any higher, which they will, we have to leave Plainview. Our income is nowhere near that of the teachers and administrators in our district, we haven't had a raise in over five years, yet we are expected to provide raises and benefits for educators who make much more than we do. Enough!
Marilyn September 01, 2013 at 04:00 PM
Our school taxes are ludicrous! Our child is an adult and we are paying too much for Dr. Lorna Lewis to earn over $350,000 including her compensation package. Perhaps we should send her our school tax bill since she can certainly afford to pay it more than we can!
Penquin September 01, 2013 at 05:31 PM
If I knew civil service could be that profitable. I would have gone in a totally different direction. Currently, I am a middle aged degreed professional who has been laid off. So much has changed over the years.
MG September 02, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Joe - Tyler is correct here is the difference - outside of NY each school district is County lead VS. Town lead - so yes VA - MD - some parts of FL - NC - MA etc are equal to LI-NY but the taxs are a full 50% less with same results and services- my school taxs have gone up 50% in 7rs in POB - i can barely keep up and can no longer fund the extras - additionally - no one i know make these base salaries AND 70% pensions for life - even in the good time I never came close to these numbers - 42% of the budget is medical and pension costs - 25 yrs ago it was around 20% - hence we are also getting hit be the first time ever demographic shift in the history of US
MG September 02, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Mont. County MD and Loudon County VA surpass all schools on LI - taxs are 50% - my sister bailed on LI years ago - and County lead schools is the way to go,,,,,,,,,,, win - win for all
MG September 02, 2013 at 09:25 PM
50% less the LI that is
LS September 03, 2013 at 02:37 PM
I have family in an upscale suburb in New Jersey, where the real estate taxes are supposedly the highest in New Jersey. Their district supports multiple high schools that are renowned for their quality, their teachers highly paid. Their home and property are equal to the largest plots in POB, yet their real estate taxes are $5,000 less than ours.
MG September 03, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Correct NJ schools are great but their town/county taxs are high - if we had 1 County Superintendent - and area Asst.'s - trimming current/future pensions by 2-4% based on a yearly scale etc - we would normalize - this will never happen bc if u try to cut a pension even a smidge they will cry murder ! I am from LI , moved to FL,, moved back to LI - im so ready to go back to FL lol !
Cuphat Hu February 10, 2014 at 05:54 PM
Don't blame the superintendents who make ridiculous amount of money. Blame it ALL to those who hired them to the job. If those superintendents are voted to the job, I blame to the stupid voters, else I blame it squarely onto the corrupted city councils, state councils, and so on. Anyone would jump for the job, don't you?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »