News Story

Michigan’s Highest Paid Public School Servants

Who says public service can’t be rewarding?

Curtis Ivery, the long-serving chancellor of the Wayne County Community College District, retained his spot as the most highly compensated ($455,214) public school employee in Michigan during the 2017-18 school year. That’s according to data released to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy by the state’s Office of Retirement Services.

Ivery, whose district enrolls more than 18,000 students annually, was one of four community college leaders among the top 10 wage earners in the public school retirement system, ORS said in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The salaries include all employees that are part of the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System.

Four superintendents of K-12 districts, ranging in size from Detroit to relatively tiny Edwardsburg in southwest Michigan, were also in the top 10. Two others in the top 10 directed intermediate school districts, the regional cooperative systems which typically manage special education, professional development and statistical programs for K-12 students within the region.

The compensation figures represent salaries, bonuses and other direct payments, but do not include the value of benefits like health insurance.

Here are the top ten:

● Curtis Ivery: chancellor of WCCCD since 1995, $455,214

● Nikolai Vitti: superintendent of Detroit Public Schools since 2017, $294,999

● Lisa Hagel: superintendent of the Genesee Intermediate School District since 2010, $292,529

● Timothy Meyer: former chancellor of Oakland County Community College (fired in May 2017) who now serves as Oakland County’s deputy executive for economic development, $270,000

● Michael Rice: superintendent of Kalamazoo Public Schools since 2007, $266,456

● Teresa Weatherall Neal: superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools (and who is retiring in 2019), $265,790

● James Sawyer: president of Macomb County Community College since 2017, $261,000

● Sherman Ostrander: superintendent of Edwardsburg Public Schools for 23 years (and retired since June), $257,531

● Mary Jean Goodnow: president of Delta College since 2005, $247,171

● Michael DeVault: superintendent of the Macomb Intermediate School District, $246,173

It was not immediately clear whether Meyer’s 2017-18 compensation reflects payments from the community college or Oakland County. More information on the salaries of public employees in Michigan can be found in the Michigan Government Employees Database, which is maintained by the Mackinac Center.

The nonprofit also publishes salary information for public sector workers in Michigan. gets its salary information from Freedom of Information Act requests it puts it to local, state and federal units of government.