Superintendent, administrators top Shelton school salaries

Shelton Superintendent of Schools Ken Saranich poses in front of the Board of Education offices in Shelton, Conn. Nov. 5, 2020.

Shelton Superintendent of Schools Ken Saranich poses in front of the Board of Education offices in Shelton, Conn. Nov. 5, 2020.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — School Superintendent Ken Saranich still tops the school-side salary list but slipped to second overall citywide this past year, according to data from the city and school finance departments. 

Saranich, as the city’s top school administrator, earned $203,863, followed by school Chief of Staff Carole Pannozzo, with a $188,306 annual salary, and school Director of Curriculum Kristen Santilli, who earned $179,634. 

Saranich is the second highest paid Shelton worker, behind Police Lt. Michael McPadden, whose $218,899 annual pay includes overtime and private duty pay, plus a retroactive bump in pay thanks to the contract settlement in early 2022. 

Saranich has the highest gross pay of any city employee, but data shows he is the lowest paid superintendent in all of Fairfield County.  

“Ken is doing a great job,” said Board of Education Chair Kathy Yolish, acknowledging that Saranich’s salary is “well below those in Fairfield County. 

Saranich declined to comment on his salary in the city or compared to other superintendents.

Yolish said Saranich’s day begins at about 5 a.m. when he contacts the Shelton Student Transportation Service, the city-run bus company, to preview the day’s transportation schedule. 

The remainder of Saranich’s morning and workday, according to Yolish, is spent in schools, webinars, leadership meetings, answering emails and state and superintendents’ work meetings. 

“Many times, his days do not end at 4:30 or 5 as (Saranich) also attends sport events and PTO meetings at night,” Yolish added. 

"His dedication to the position is above and beyond expectations,” Yolish added. “He is available, accessible and ambitious. I know that we are getting real value for the dollars spent on the Superintendent’s salary." 

Fairfield County superintendent base salaries range from highs of $345,841 (Bryan Luizzi in New Canaan), $311,420 (Alan Addley in Darien) and $303,196 (Thomas Scarice in Westport) to the ones closest to Saranich — Joseph Kobza in Monroe ($210,125) and Stratford’s Uyi Osunde ($220,000). 

Shelton High Principal Kathy Riddle placed fourth among school employees at $178,634, followed by Shelton Intermediate Principal John Skerritt, with $168,965; Booth Hill Principal Dina Marks, with $163,769; Shelton High Assistant Principal James Colandrea, Perry Hill Assistant Principal Karen Crosby, Long Hill Principal Andrea D’Aiuto and Elizabeth Shelton Principal Jamie Weber, and Shelton High Assistant Principal Victoria White, all at $160,559. 

The next 10 top school earners were Shelton High Assistant Principal Robert Ayer and Shelton Intermediate School Assistant Principal Victoria Sargeant, both at $159,559; Margaret Giordano and William Roland, supervisors of special education, both at $159,261; Sunnyside Principal Darla Lussier at $157,559; supervisor of special education Theresa Raposo at $156,261; supervisor of teaching and learning Ernestina Xavier at $156,261; director of finance Todd Heffelfinger at $149,999; technology director Glenn Newman at $148,453; and network engineer Christopher Adams at $126,328. 

Yolish said the majority of district staff salaries are in accordance with bargaining agreements and contracts within state averages. This also applies to those in the Central Office who are in unions and negotiate every three years. 

She added that the directors and administrative assistants' salaries are negotiated annually upon review and evaluation. Those awards are also within state averages, she said.