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Spotsylvania superintendent to be region's 2nd-highest paid public employee

Mark Taylor portrait

The Virginia Board of Education granted a schools superintendent’s license to former Spotsylvania County Administrator Mark Taylor.

Spotsylvania County School Board Chair Kirk Twigg signed a contract with prospective superintendent Mark Taylor on Sept. 16, the same day Twigg and other board members told the public that contract negotiations with Taylor were continuing.

The School Board held a special meeting Sept. 16 and approved a motion to “submit the contract and negotiations forward as discussed in closed session.”

“This is all under further deliberation,” Twigg told the public as the special meeting adjourned.

When Taylor begins his appointment as superintendent Nov. 1, he will be the second-highest-paid school division leader in the region.

Although Taylor has no background in public education, he qualifies for a superintendent’s license based on Option IV of the Virginia Code’s licensure regulations, which lays out the requirements for obtaining a superintendent’s license without a background in education.

Candidates must have a master’s degree or equivalent, three years of successful senior leadership experience and a recommendation from a Virginia School Board interested in hiring them.

Taylor will receive an annual base salary of $245,000, which is $5,000 less than Stafford County Superintendent Thomas Taylor, who has a doctorate in education and a master’s degree in business administration and worked as a teacher, principal, chief academic officer, chief operating officer and deputy superintendent in several Virginia school divisions prior to becoming superintendent in Stafford.

Spotsylvania Public Schools has about 24,000 enrolled students, as compared to Stafford’s more than 30,000, and about 1,200 fewer employees than Stafford.

Taylor will make more than King George County schools Superintendent Robert Benson, who retired in June after 10 years as division leader; and more than Caroline Superintendent Sarah Calveric and Fredericksburg Superintendent Marci Catlett, who both have decades of teaching and administrative experience.

Benson’s salary, according to his most recent contract, effective July 1, 2020, was $195,722. Calveric’s is $186,963, as of Aug. 17 and Catlett’s is $199,500 as of July 1, 2021.

Taylor will make $30,000 more per year than his predecessor, Scott Baker, who was making $215,000 when he was fired without cause in January.

Baker’s contract was renewed most recently in June 2020. Twigg and board member Rabih Abuismail voted against renewing the contract, which increased Baker’s pay from $205,000 to $215,000 annually.

Taylor will also make more than Spotsylvania County Administrator Ed Petrovitch, who makes $210,000 annually, according to his most recent contract.

Taylor’s contract is the only one of all regional superintendent’s contracts that guarantees him full salary and benefits for more than 12 months if he is fired without cause.

He will receive “an amount equal to all salary, compensation and benefits” through June 2026, according to the contract.

All other area superintendents—those employed by the school boards in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Caroline County and King George County—would receive pay for 12 months or until the expiration of their four-year contracts, whichever time period is shorter, if they are terminated without cause.

Baker’s contract specified that he will receive salary, compensation and benefits for one year after his termination in January.

Taylor’s contract also differs from other local superintendent contracts in that the amount of deferred compensation he is to receive is not specified.

“The Board will make an annual contribution to a deferred compensation plan on behalf of the Superintendent, if any, designated from time to time by the Superintendent,” the contract states.

Deferred compensation is an arrangement in which a portion of an employee’s income is paid out at a later date, after the income was earned. Taxes on the income are also deferred until the employee receives the income.

The contracts for the other four superintendents either specify an annual dollar amount or percentage of base salary—between $20,000 and $25,000 or 9.5% to 10%, in the case of local contracts—to go toward the superintendent’s deferred compensation plan.

Taylor’s contract also notes that “The Superintendent shall be entitled to hear and respond to any Board discussion of matters pertaining to the Superintendent personally.”

No other local superintendent’s contract contains that language.

Taylor will be paid up to $5,000 to cover moving expenses from Greene County to Spotsylvania County, some 60 miles away.

School Board members were informed Monday that Taylor’s contract had been signed and executed.

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