Pittsburgh principals share $114,979 in bonuses

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All eligible Pittsburgh Public Schools principals except one who retired have been awarded performance-based bonuses for 2012-13, totaling $114,979.

The school district this week released figures showing that bonuses for 57 principals ranged from $1,000 to $7,500. The average bonus was $2,017.

This is the sixth year for performance-based incentives for principals. While a federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant has helped to pay for the bonuses in the past, this is the first year the amounts were solely on the district's tab.

The total is close to the 2011-12 figure of $109,232 but less than half of the $342,250 awarded for 2010-11.

The amount possible has varied over the years, particularly when principals at the now-defunct accelerated learning academies had additional incentives.

This time, eligible principals could earn up to $11,500. That includes a performance increment of up to $1,500 based on a rubric or completion of a directed professional growth project. This portion of the bonus carries over the following years and began being paid in the Oct. 30 paycheck.

In addition, an achievement bonus of up to $10,000 was possible based on improvement on state tests, district curriculum-based assessments, core course completion and focused growth targets. Their schools needed to have student growth above the state average. This bonus does not carry over and is a separate check to be received by the end of this month.

Principals of special schools could receive the performance increment of up to $1,500 but not the $10,000 incentive.

Not counting the achievement bonus, possible principal pay ranges from $99,000 to $127,780, depending on the type of school, education and past performance increments.

The top bonus of $7,500 went to Shemeca Crenshaw, who now is principal of the Pittsburgh Online Academy but was principal of Westinghouse 6-12 in Homewood in 2012-13. Because she voluntarily transferred to Westinghouse, a high-needs school, her bonus considered her previous service at Weil PreK-5.

Other than Ms. Crenshaw, only two other secondary school principals received bonuses above $3,000: Melissa Friez at Allderdice High in Squirrel Hill, $4,540, and Dennis Chakey at Carrick High, $4,470.

Eleventh-graders at Allderdice and Carrick did significantly better on the new state Keystone Exams in Algebra 1 and math in 2012-13 than their counterparts did in 2011-12.

Westinghouse 11th-graders showed a smaller improvement, although grades 6-8 at the school showed significant evidence of exceeding the state growth standard for reading.

Of principals in the lower grades, LouAnn Zwieryznski of Faison K-5 in Homewood was at the top with a bonus of $6,100. Her voluntary transfer to the high-needs school meant her previous service at the now-closed Langley High School was considered.

Five others earning bonuses above $3,000 are:

  • Holly Ballard of Weil PreK-5 in the Hill District, $4,500;
  • Elaine Wallace, now retired, of Whittier K-5 on Mount Washington, $4,320;
  • Lisa Gallagher of Woolslair K-5 on the Bloomfield/Lawrenceville border, $3,780;
  • James Nath of Roosevelt PreK-5 in Carrick, $3,480;
  • Kevin Bivins of Fulton PreK-5 in Highland Park, $3,260.

On state measurement of student growth in math, Faison, Roosevelt, Weil and Woolslair students showed significant evidence of exceeding the growth standard. Faison and Whittier students showed significant evidence in reading. Fulton met the growth standard in math and reading.

The highest bonus at a PreK-8 or K-8 school was $2,627, which went to Laura Dadey at Sunnyside K-8 in Stanton Heights, which showed significant evidence of exceeding the growth standard in math and reading.

One now-retired principal, Ethel Flam, at Grandview K-5 in Allentown, did not receive a bonus based on the evaluation.

Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.

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