The salaries and benefits of top Scottsdale Schools administration

(File Photo)

Salaries, including stipends and travel expenses, provided by the Scottsdale Unified School District show top administration and department heads will account for nearly $2.5 million this fiscal year.

The Scottsdale Independent submitted a record’s request June 26 seeking salaries for all Scottsdale Unified School District Department heads and the district Leadership Team for 2017-18 and 2018-19.

On Aug. 2, one PDF file was emailed listing base salary, travel expense if applicable, stipends and other line items that make up each person’s total salary for both years.

The administrative salary amounts are down from a peak of $2.8 million for the same areas of employment in school year 2017-18, records show, although former Chief Financial Officer Laura Smith’s salary and then-Public Information Officer Erin Helm’s salaries were not included in records provided, however a posted salary table at shows a public information and marketing officer garners between $69,268 to $90,379 per year.

It’s also worth pointing out the total salaries for the 2018-19 year reflect two top positions — superintendent and chief financial officer — who are on short contracts with lesser pay than a longterm employee.

Acting Superintendent Dr. John Kriekard is reportedly taking home $67,600 for his stint at SUSD; while interim chief financial officer Jeff Gadd has a prorated salary of $33,010.

Some of the leadership team has been consolidated, with five positions from last year no longer filled or applicable. Out of the 27 names provided in the 2017-18 records, employees who remain in the same position as last year are:

  • Michelle Marshall, general counsel;
  • Steven Nance, assistant superintendent of education services;
  • Sheryl Rednor, executive director of teaching and learning;
  • Amy Fuller, administrator on assignment;
  • Deborah Spaulding, chief systems officer;
  • Tara Gonyer, director of special education;
  • Tony Hawari, director of data and programming;
  • Kris Treat, director of secondary curriculum;
  • Patti Bilbrey, nutritional services director; and
  • Nathan Slater, district athletic director.

All of these employees’ salaries were bumped slightly, numbers show, with the largest raise going to Ms. Marshall. Her base salary increased from $136,918 to $150,000. Ms. Rednor was listed as an “ESI employee” last year — without a listed salary — and information on what that is has not been provided at the time of publication.

Employees who have a different job title this year are:

  • Milissa Sackos from executive director of student services to assistant superintendent of secondary education. Ms. Sackos received a base salary raise of just under $10,000, numbers show, and received a travel expense.
  • Debbie Ybarra went from executive director of elementary education to special assistant to the superintendent with a $1,000 increase;
  • Mai-Long Wong was the only employee listed who saw a decrease in salary, from $99,589 under the title of gifted services to $98,076 as director of gifted and accelerated programs; and
  • Dennis Roehler’s title changed slightly from director of facilities management to director of building services. Numbers show his pay has increased by about $1,000.

Governing Board President Barbara Perleberg, in a prepared statement, says school district officials have had numerous conversations on the competitive hiring market in Arizona education.

“Our Governing Board has had several discussions around the very competitive hiring market that exists in Arizona education today,” Ms. Perleberg said about administration pay.

“We have prioritized increasing salary ranges for all our employees, at every level, so that SUSD can compete for the qualified, skilled staff members we need to serve our students best. While investments in the classroom and at our schools remain top priority, a solid administration staff is an important and necessary asset in our challenging environment.”

The SUSD employees mentioned in this article did not respond to requests for comment.

Northeast Valley News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at or can be followed on Twitter at

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