Superintendent, principals are top-paid Trumbull school employees

Trumbull Superintendent of Schools Martin Semmel welcomes students for first day of school at Tashua Elementary School in Trumbull, Conn. on Tuesday, August 30, 2022.

Trumbull Superintendent of Schools Martin Semmel welcomes students for first day of school at Tashua Elementary School in Trumbull, Conn. on Tuesday, August 30, 2022.

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media

TRUMBULL — School Superintendent Martin Semmel tops the school-side salary list but sits in second overall townwide this past year, according to data from the town and school finance departments. 

Semmel, as the town’s top school administrator, earned $268,498, followed by Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Susan Iwanicki, with a $201,038 annual salary, and Trumbull High Principal Marc Guarino, who earned $196,449. 

“The teachers and school leaders in Trumbull are some of the most talented, hard-working, and empathetic that I have ever had the pleasure of working with during my 26 years in education,” Semmel said. “They are highly educated with years of experience and are focused on ensuring that all students in the Trumbull Public Schools receive the best education that we can provide.”

Board of Education Chair Lucinda Timpanelli said the district’s staff is experienced and dedicated, adding that Trumbull is competitive with area districts with respect to salaries. 

Semmel is the second highest paid Trumbull worker for calendar year 2022, behind police officer Thomas Dzurenda, whose $312,668 annual pay includes $87,000 in base pay, overtime and other miscellaneous pay. 

“Our superintendent possesses a wealth of qualities,” Timpanelli said. 

She pointed out Semmel’s "financial acumen, superior rapport with all stakeholders, and effective strategies that include working with our security team, ensuring the physical, mental and emotional well being of all, and strengthening the district’s math and literacy programs." 

She added that he creates professional development opportunities for staff and monitors facilities with a modernization master plan.

“Most importantly, he handles them in a professional and successful manner,” she added. “I am confident people understand the importance of his job and the responsibilities for which he is compensated." 

“He possesses a genuine care for our students, staff and school community and works through all issues thoughtfully,” she added. 

Semmel sits in the middle of the pay scale for Fairfield County superintendents. 

Fairfield County superintendent base salaries range from highs of $345,841 for Bryan Luizzi in New Canaan, $311,420 for Alan Addley in Darien and $303,196 for Thomas Scarice in Westport, to the ones nearer the bottom of the list with Joseph Kobza in Monroe at $210,125, Stratford’s Uyi Osunde with $220,000 and Shelton’s Ken Saranich at $203,863, according to information from Shelton school officals

The next seven Trumbull administrators each earned $182,000: Booth Hill Principal Dana Pierce, Daniels Farm Principal Gary Kunschaft, Hillcrest Principal Bryan Rickert, Madison Principal Peter Sullivan, Frenchtown Principal Gina Prisco and Middlebrook Principal Jennifer Neumeyer. 

The next 10 top school earners were Trumbull Preschool Principal Matthew Wheeler at $176,781; Special Education Coordinator Barbara Beaman at $174,781; Business Administrator Paul Hendrickson at $172,890; Jane Ryan Principal Patsy Horan at $171,244; A House Principal Christopher Siano with $170,365; B House Principal Ellen Spark with $170,365; C House Principal Todd Manuel with $170,365; Athletic Director Michael King at $168,163; and Madison Assistant Principal Paul Coppola with $168,163. 

"Our administrator contract provides salaries that are competitive in our area to ensure that we continue to attract and retain the best school leaders for our students and families,” Semmel said.