REGIONAL: New Eastern Shore school superintendents get increase over predecessors’ pay

Accomack Superintendent Rhonda Hall, left, and Northampton Superintendent Lisa Martin

BY CLARA VAUGHN, Eastern Shore Post —

Accomack County Public Schools’ new superintendent, Rhonda Hall, started the position earning $176,981 annually, a 7% increase over the previous superintendent’s salary of $165,403.

Northampton County Public Schools Superintendent Lisa Martin started the position last school year with a base salary of $140,000, plus a 6% increase because she holds a doctorate degree, making her starting salary $148,400.

Martin’s salary was a 3.7% raise over the previous superintendent’s salary of $143,100, which included the same 6% increase.

Martin began her role as superintendent mid-school year and her salary for the 2023-2024 school year is slated to be finalized later this month in a compensation addendum.

The superintendents’ raises are on par with other school staff. Both school systems budgeted an average 7% increase for full-time employees this year, their financial officers said.

The Eastern Shore Post requested and received copies of contracts for both counties’ superintendents, who the school boards appointed earlier this year.

In addition to their salaries, the contracts also give a glimpse of the perks offered to schools’ chief executives, which include transportation and cellular phone benefits.

Both Hall and Martin served as assistant superintendents in their school systems before taking on the schools’ chief roles. The school boards appointed both new superintendents; the boards did not interview other candidates for the job.

“Dr. Martin came with a significant amount of experience,” said Northampton County School Board Chair Liz Jones.

Martin had been serving as acting superintendent after her predecessor, Jaime Cole, resigned unexpectedly after five months on the job. 

The Accomack County School Board cited similar experience in its decision to appoint Hall as superintendent.

“Dr. Hall has proven her leadership. She has been with the (Accomack County) school system for 34 years,” said Accomack School Board Chair Ronnie Holden.

Previous superintendent Chris Holland also recommended Hall for the position.

Hall had served as interim superintendent from April to July 2014 and in other roles in her longtime career in Accomack County schools.

Northampton County’s previous superintendent resigned unexpectedly Dec. 1, 2022, after less than a half-year on the job.

On Dec. 8, 2022, the school board gave Martin a contract to serve as acting superintendent, Jones said. The board interviewed and hired Martin in January for the superintendent position, she said.

“We were all confident that Dr. Martin was the right person to lead our district,” Jones said.

The Northampton school board held interviews before appointing its previous superintendents, Cole and Eddie Lawrence, she said.

Martin signed a contract this Jan. 26 that extends through June 30, 2026.

Yearly salary increases for Martin’s position are 2%, “or no less than the average increase approved by the (Northampton County School) Board for instructional personnel,” according to the contract.

Martin’s contract includes $600 for a monthly automobile allowance, which allows “private purposes and travel required in the performance of her official duties.”

It also provides cell phone service for the superintendent.

Martin oversees 303 full-time employees in the Northampton school system, which has 1,368 students at four schools, Jones said.

The school system passed a budget of nearly $31 million for the 2023-2024 school year.

The Accomack school board announced Hall’s appointment as superintendent June 21. Hall signed a contract June 20 that extends through June 30, 2027.

The previous superintendent interviewed for the position, at which time Hall had also interviewed, Holden said.

Her starting salary is $176,981 and may be adjusted in future school years, according to the contract.

The contract also provides her with a vehicle for business use only and a cell phone for school-related business.

Hall oversees around 850 total full-time employees in the Accomack County school system, which has an average daily enrollment of 4,589 students at 11 schools, according to Accomack schools’ Director of Finance Beth Onley.

The school system adopted an operating budget of almost $65 million for the 2023-2024 school year, not including federal and state grants, she said.

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