ONLY ON 3 INVESTIGATION: While teacher pay stays flat, 6 secretaries make more than $50k at New Hanover Co. Schools

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Submitted: Fri, 11/01/2013 - 3:42am
Updated: Fri, 11/01/2013 - 3:04pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New details in our investigation of a reported relationship between New Hanover County Schools Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley and an administrative assistant he supervised.

We are learning more about why she and some other administrative assistants have higher salaries than most teachers.

After Markley’s former administrative assistant received a $6,000 raise in July that bumped her salary to more than $75,000 for what the district calls outside experience credit, we wanted to know what exactly that means.

But first, we asked the Board of Education chair his thoughts on the reported relationship.

“Do you have any more questions on outside work experience? Because I made it very plain I was not going to discuss personnel,” Don Hayes said. “If you’re through with outside work experience, then we’re through.”

Hayes did not want to talk about reports of the relationship between Markley and Baltezegar, so we asked why the district is considering a change in the district’s fraternization policy.

“Basically I think that any organization where you have superiors in certain relationships with subordinants and so forth, it’s frowned upon, and I think that’s what they’re addressing and looking at all that,” he said.

We also asked Hayes to explain in more detail what outside experience credit is.

“If you’re trying to hire like technology for example, you know, you’re competing against other… if you’ve got computer skills and so forth, that’s very marketable,” Hayes said. “So it makes it difficult for us as a school system to pay the salaries that private industry can pay. So this was just an attempt or is an attempt to level that playing field some to where we can be more competitive in hiring employees.”

Hayes says the money for outside experience credit comes from the district’s budget. So we asked if some of the money that goes toward this outside experience credit go toward giving teachers maybe more.

“Well what we do then, we did raise the local teacher supplement,” Hayes said. “We did raise that one percent, so that has been raised, which is well over a million dollars. So, that we can do, but as far as… we don’t control the state salaries.”

And he says when you compare other industries to the school district, he salaries are not out of line.

So how much money are we talking about for administrative assistants? According to the school district, Donna Rosser makes $61,108, Tabitha Adams makes $62,208, Glenda White makes $71,184. Markley’s former assistant tops the list at $75,468, while teachers in the county have seen minimal increases in their district supplement.

“If you look at private industry, if you go to Cape Fear Community College, if you go out to UNCW, if you look at other corporations, administrative assistants, many of them make very good salaries, much higher than what ours make,” Hayes said. “But yes, you’re right. There are administrative assistants that do make more than a certified classroom teacher.”

So what’s the most a teacher can make in New Hanover County? The highest level on the state’s pay scale is for a National Board Certified PhD with 36 or more years experience. Add in the district’s eight-percent supplement, and a teacher with those qualifications would make less than $73,493.96 a year, or about $2,000 less than Baltezegar.


  • ohreally says:

    do the secretaries work?

  • tke1 says:

    Another example of incompetent reporting. You named the secretaries and their salaries. Now name the teachers you mentioned. How long had each been at their posts? What degrees and certifications do they have that would merit higher salaries?
    Character assassination by innuendo with WWAY as the prime suspect.
    How about doing some REAL investigation and get all the facts, not just the ones to pump up your hit piece.
    There may be a problem their but WWAY’s agenda driven reporting destroys its credibility with any one but the low info readers.

  • Randy says:

    Chairman Hayes appeared a little angry tonight on the news report. Yes, they actually thought they could cover it up! I hope you will check on the salaries of secretaries at Cape Fear Community College and UNC- W that he mentioned were more than what teachers are paid.
    Along with the salary amounts be sure and find out the educational requirements, college degree, etc. I don’t believe any of these 6 ladies have a college degree and I’m certain the one making over 75k doesn’t.
    The Chair and others need to understand what this affair has done/ is doing to our community and our educational staff and send Markley on his way. I can’t think of anything Markley has actually led on that amounts to being beneficial to our community and school system.

  • bass says:

    Gee, my wife volunteers for free at Brunswick County school because secretary was fired to keep full time deputy. Said didn’t have money for both positions. How did they pay for it all the years before when they had both positions on? New Hanover county must have a secret gold mine. Thank you

  • bottomed out says:

    So, has teacher morale across the state, and this county in particular, completely evaporated yet? Let’s Race to the Bottom!!!

  • Elizabeth, SI says:


  • Claire Primrose says:

    Mr. Hayes I work at UNCW and there are no administrative assistant salaries in that level at UNCW.

  • Guest Timekeeper says:

    In my opinion, that principal is totally wrong. Maybe someone a little more competent needs to assume his position. Kids spend more than enough time on a bus as it is. Maybe his idea is to lessen the possibility of a child being run over by a bus, but there are better ways to do this.

  • trurthseeker says:

    Wrightsboro Elementary School Prinicpal recently decided that School Buses cannot unload students at the same time. They make each bus sit while one bus unloads. Then they call up the next bus and make it wait 3 minutes before it can unload. Meanwhile, the buses are idling, burning gas and the drivers getting paid for sitting. In turn this delays the school bus for there next run and causes other schools to get late students.

    This along with Central Staff is the decision making at our schools. Poor kids, they do not have a chance!

  • Just a Secretary says:

    The outside experience credit program was introduced back in 2007 for all classified employees (teacher assistants, support associates, custodians, etc). It was submitted to the Board for approval but was declined due to budget cuts. Each budget year since this time, the Board has considered the outside work experience credit but it was not approved until this budget year, 2013-2014. Since 2007, no classified employees have received a pay increase, until now.

    I am a support associate/secretary with the school system, with a college degree, and I make no where near what the CO Administrative Assistants make, even with the credit for prior work experience.

    Let’s remember why this discussion all started in the first place and not condemn the NHCS employees who work hard each day and uphold higher moral and ethical standards than the leadership of this school system.

  • Guest 12354 says:

    Don Hayes has every right to stonewall but do not whine when the voters ( the taxpayer) shows up to give you the boot! You are a disgrace to public education! By declaring it a personnel matter does not relief you of your moral responsibility , which is reasonable to question. Infidelity takes place every day everywhere BUT the absurd salaries will be what leads to the NHC Board of Education’ s demise. By not squaring with the public because you and the rest of your gang were finally exposed for poor judgement is a problem that will not be wished away with time. Your plight mirrors that of the ABC board and we all know how that turned out. High school educated secretaries , regardless of this additional ambiguous BS training , does not wash. Give WWAY a list of school employees , who have received a 100 percent pay increase like the superintendent’s girlfriend / secretary. Bet you will find no one who has received such compensation. Time to tear down this little cliche’ at central office and it all starts with a cooperative board , which we do not have presently. You made your bed so be prepared to lay in it!

  • DSmith says:

    The school board said the $6,000 salary increase Baltezeger received in June 2013, was a due to outside experience credit. This credit was not introduced to teachers until July 2013 and was to be retroactive to July after employment proof was verified. The question is how did Baltezegar get a salary increase before teachers had the opportunity to do the same?

  • guest1919 says:

    how is this incompetent reporting? they are simply providing the facts available due to public records. you assume the rest of the news. are there some teachers in NHC making more than 50,000 a year, with a masters? try to go and find out. you have some facts, look for the others…

    most informed citizens look at both sides of the story before forming an opion.

  • GuestPopeArt says:

    NC needs to get rid of good teachers and anyone with college degrees so we can turn this state into a utopia for the 1%.

    No environmental regulations, an uneducated work force that will take whatever they can get at low-paying service/retail jobs and a tax haven for the rich!

    Get out of our way or get on board! And we’ll tell you JEEEEEZUS is on our side!

  • unknown says:

    It does not surprise me a at all that Mrs.Hall will implement something as this. This is a very minute situation when we compare other things that is going on at the school. Lets talk about her having over half of her students, African American and presently she has no Certified African American employed in her school( Two African American females teacher assistants to be exact). Several African Americans have submitted resumes and did not even get a call for an interview for positions that were filled this school year!!! I guess she can justify that too , Yeah Right!!!!!!

  • Whiplash says:

    Honestly! Police officers putting their lives at risk for the public don’t make that salary. Teachers have been underpaid for years and it is ridiculous that these secretaries make such a salary without calling for a degree. Teachers go into their profession usually still owing for their degrees which is mandatory to get their jobs. The Superintendent and all of his Assistant Superintendents make 110-130K. They have directors and such making 75-90K. This organization is obviously upside down in how it pays its staff. With the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendents, Executive Directors, Directors, and their secretaries making so much money is is no wonder there isn’t enough money to pay the teachers like they should. It is clear now why the Superintendent and his secretary had the time. The Board shouldn’t think everyone who votes automatically believes what they say. There are those of us that look at the record and operate with common sense.

  • Vog46 says:

    I beg to differ.
    The use of hyphens is critical in the English language.

    It denotes the importance of mixed heritage and indicates the person using the hyphen to be of great importance.
    Just ask hyphen lady at the Chamber of Commerce (For the uninitiated – Connie Majeure-Rhett) who believes that the Hyphenated name and a 6 figure salary gives credence to her importance to the community………

    In THAT vein I propose a change to your moniker, you should change it to Chef-n-Surf.

    Doesn’t that make you feel more important?


  • taxpayer says:

    If several white folks had applied and not been called for an interview, would you have described them as “Caucasian”? Enough with the race card! For what it’s worth, African American is hyphenated…as in African-American.

    So what if they weren’t called for an interview. The Principal doesn’t have to justify to you or anyone else who does and who doesn’t get called for an interview. You, on the other hand, seem to feel that being black should provide an individual with special privileges as it pertains to employment in this case.

  • billie says:

    So…That’s where all the Lottery Money goes…….

  • Guest Reply Redux says:

    From this report:
    ***”Classroom Teacher Salaries: The U.S. average public school teacher salary for 2011–12 was $55,418.”***
    “Adjusting for inflation, thirty-two states saw real declines in average teacher salaries over those years. Those with average salaries declining 5 percent or more were: North Carolina (-15.7%)”
    North Carolina isn’t alone in teachers salary decline.
    Read the article.

  • 8844 says:

    I didn’t know you had to be certified to be an African American!

    Who’d a thunk it?

  • Dara says:

    It is an outrage and a smack in the face to teachers that secretaries earn more for doing less, yes less work. Maybe teachers should apply for the secretarial positions when they become available after all, it was us who taught them how to type and answer a phone properly!

  • BillOBrien says:

    What are you smoking? Your comment is so full of crap that my screen turned brown and smelled! How do you take this situation and try and turn it on republicans and Christians? Democrats have had control of this state for over 100 years and got us to this point. There is now a republican governor and suddenly everything is bad overnight according to you fools. Nobody is chasing teachers out the door or trying to deregulate anything. It is democrats who are trying to bring companies like Titan into the area and do as much uncontrolled development along the waterways as possible. Conservatives are about teaching the things that really need to be taught in school rather than democratic dogma. I saw nowhere in the article where Jesus was mentioned…maybe if He had been paid more attention we wouldn’t have an executive assistant getting paid thousands in bonuses for “outside experience”…I am sure that is completely aboveboard…nothing to see here…

  • Dawn George says:

    This is not new news. The Star News has been publishing salaries for years. Go to their database and search for the Assistant to the Chancellor for UNCW. They make over $100K. This position would be comparable to the Assistant to the Superintendent at NHCS. Get the facts, compare apples to apples, and if you don’t like the pay your job earns, find a job in a field that pays more.

  • ChefnSurf says:

    Actually both are correct. If you Google it up, you’ll find a slightly higher percentage of the use of “African American”. Ohio State University, for instance has a “Department of African American and African Studies”.

    Of course, this whole politically correct labeling thing is totally bizarre. Are Arabs from North Africa who reside in the U.S. “African American” or are they Arabs, and if so why? What about “Whites”? Why are they just labeled by skin color? Isn’t that why blacks aren’t labeled by skin color anymore; because it’s discriminatory? Why don’t “Whites” get a special title too? Maybe they should be called “European Americans”, or maybe “Caucasian Americans”, or maybe that should be reserved just for people from the Caucasus mountain region of Eastern Europe. And what about Asians? It just doesn’t seem fair that a group of people whose residence covers such a huge part of our planet shouldn’t have more regional distinctions as well. To not do that is to say that all Asians are alike and that’s just darn politically incorrect!

    Maybe we should just assign numbers to various ethnic groups. Now that I think about it, that won’t work either, because everybody wants to be number one.

    That’s the trouble with political correctness. The more you stir it up, the murkier it gets.

  • Randy says:

    And, the Assistant(s) to the Chancellor is not necessarily comparing apples to apples. The position that would compare is an Administrative Assistant , an office person , not someone who represents the Chancellor as an Assistant to the Chancellor would.

  • Randy says:

    You have a college degree and yet you do not make what Stephanie makes(over 75K ) There is definitely something wrong with this situation. I know you and many others in our school system work very hard , thank you.

  • REAL answer says:

    Since you want a REAL report of teacher requirements and pay, I will give you mine:

    Experience: 8 years in New Hanover County
    Undergraduate degree: BA in Literature
    BA in Journalism
    Masters Degree: MA Literature
    MA Teaching Secondary Literature
    Licensures: Middle School Language Arts 6-8
    Secondary English 9-12
    Exceptional Children K-12
    Pay: $36,330/ yr. plus the local 8% supplement, after taxes, 403B, insurance and SS, this means $2200/ month take home. having extra license areas does not mean that teachers get extra pay, I guess that isn’t an important skill.

    I work 80 plus hours every week. I am expected to plan lessons that address the varied learning styles of 106 students each day. I also attend IEP, 504 and behavioral interventions for them nearly daily. I grade work from each student and update grades at least twice a week in a system that is down more that it works. I spend 35 minutes of my day, each day, watching a hallway during lunch instead of eating my own lunch and I volunteer in the library during my planning so the librarian can eat.
    I also attend extra curricular activities, meet with parents, research programs that will benefit my kids, find grants, scholarships and corporate charities that will sponsor classroom needs like books and supplies because we have not adopted new text books in 7 years and have limit funds for novels.
    I love what I do. I love my students, my school and my co-workers. We have wonderful parents and a great administration, however, none of us have any illusions about the school board, the state board or the governor wanting what is best for us. None of us went into this for the money, but when I hear that the secretary at central office, with an associates from Miller Monte and a short skirt makes $40,000 more a year than I do, it is a slap in the face. Bravo to WWAY for outing it and shame on you for trying to point in every direction but the one that leads to change.

  • kzpony says:

    My genealogy precedes the Revolutionary War in America….so do I have to label myself as Scotch-Irish-Cherokee-DAR-American? Uh, no, and neither do African Americans. More than likely, their families have been in America as long as mine.

  • Randy says:

    I hate to tell you, but I don’t believe the secretary making 75K has anything but a high school diploma, others may have Miler- Motte training , but I don’t believe she does. I’d like to know the education background of all 6 of the top paid secretaries/ Adm Assistants.
    I do not understand Mr. Hayes supporting the secretaries high salaries by saying , we want to be competitive with Corp. and others. I don’t believe there is a shortage of secretaries ; however, I predict there will be a huge shortage of teachers in every area very soon.
    I also believe it would be helpful to have the salaries schedules of Adm. Assistants at UNC- W and Cape Fear Community College. The University uses the title Assistant to the Chancellor to mean something entirely different than an office worker, ( if I’m not mistaken 2 of those individuals have Master’s degrees and represent the Chancellor , they don’t do office work) So, we need the salaries of the office workers.

  • matchgirl says:

    If these administrative assistants, a pseudonym for secretaries, are being paid these salaries to compete with the broader job market, then the certified personnel, who have 4 year college degrees, master’s degrees, and advanced certification including doctoral degrees and National Board certification, should be paid salaries that are competitive with the skills they would bring to the job market. All NC teachers were required to have computer hours as part of their recertification until this past year. I imagine any 1st year kindergarten teacher has computer skills that would surpass any of these administrative assistants. Also, how many of the teachers who were hired in 2002 have had salary increases of $60,000? As I recall, Ms Baltezegar started in 2002 making $15,000 and 11 years later is making $75k. Someone has a 2002 salary schedule and a current one. What is the salary increase according to the standardized salary scale for certified employees?

  • Mchahn71 says:

    As a school employee myself I can say good for that secretary-most secretaries have to work more than the teachers do (year round) and most all classified workers work more hours and days as well. teaching is the only profession that works 3/4 of the year and gets paid full time salary. I do not feel sorry for teachers-sorry

  • PublicAvenger says:

    Board Of Education moves in Mysterious Ways.

  • Keith says:

    This exemplifies what is wrong with public schools. Too often there is gross mismanagement of taxpayer funds by the local school districts. Overpaid secretaries – making twice the pay of our youngest teachers – is just the tip of the iceberg. Check the pay of superintendents, assistant superintendents, curriculum assistants, academic “coaches”, etc. in school district central offices. And check the pay of coaches, especially athletic directors and head football coaches, and investigate what is actually justifiable. Every school system should be audited annually and have its spending published for the public to see. The public doesn’t have a clue.

  • ChefnSurf says:




  • Life long Wilmington says:

    Please don’t replace the problem with a bigger one!
    Ask the teachers and administrators in confidence and they don’t want anybody down there as a replacement!
    I don’t care who anybody chooses as a bed buddy, but don’t hire from within that Peyton Place!

    Please listen to the worker bees!

  • Randy says:

    Ask The School Board Chair Hayes if Stephanie and others have a college Degree or any college. This is shameful , They gave a certain number of people the opportunity to receive credit for menial work before they came into the school system , teachers don’t receive any opportunities like that . How about giving them credit for the 2nd job they have to pay the bills or the Summer work they must take to support their families.
    Even the secretaries in the schools have more responsibilities than these central Office secretaries. And, they didn’t even get to apply for the recent job openings that were created because they were shuffling Stephanie around.
    Will Chairman Hayes tell tales again tonight ?

  • CoCoTEACHER says:

    More than some teachers?
    Try more than some principals and area superintendents.
    WWAY should collect the salaries of principals and assistant superintendents in the area to compare to.
    I know my principal makes around $61K.

    This is sickening.

  • Carol Kramer says:

    If there are 60 Administrative Assistants (wow), I’d really like to see the entire Organizational Chart. The teachers and school secretaries must be beside themselves.

  • Aileen Washington says:

    Those secretaries may have been moved from a corporate office. We do a lot more than some other professions.

  • Randy says:

    Most if not all started working right out of high school. I don’t believe any of the 6 have any college. Maybe Mr. Hayes will tell us tonight about their education .
    I understand Corporate secretaries making more, that’s a private company, they can pay whatever they desire. And, you’re correct those secretaries have many more responsibilities than these women. Public dollars are paying these secretaries and I certainly don’t believe any of them have the knowledge or skills of our teachers and educators who are paid far less. It is shameful where was the Bd. of Ed. when Stephanie salary was raised in July ’13? We must get rid of those 2 old men this election. There’s an old woman that should also go but she was elected last year to serve until she’s 82 !

  • deputy25 says:

    wonder what the lady on the bottom of the list thinks about someone making almost as twice as her? guess its all in who you are SEEING??? i know the teachers should go on strike or something. this is sad for the teachers and sad for the 2 that cant keep their hands to themselves by taking taxpayers money and getting paid waaaayyyyyy more than some principles i know. cant wait for the spin on this one???

  • guest1919 says:

    schools wasting money? no way! i thought they were broke?! they don’t seem to understand that every penny counts. imagine the money saved over the past 15 years in every computer in the district was only turned on while in use, lights were turned off at night, AC was bumped up a couple of degrees (especially in the summer. c’mon these people wear sweaters to work in july). imagine if the buses ran shorter distances, and that money could be used on, say classroom instruction.

    wonder what it would be like if when a school was given a grant for something, they didnt have to use that money within the year. sure would result in some more space in the supply closets.

    public education officials dont realize just how much money they have. the unfortunately just dont use it wisely (to be fair, they dont always have the most discretion either…)

  • disgusted with nhc says:

    This is my 16th year as a teacher in NHC. I don’t make as much as any of these ladies. How is it that teachers, assistants, even administrators are on a standardized pay scale, but these women get random raises? Do they have state mandated evaluations? Yet the children are the priority, right? It looks to me like the bigwigs at Central Office make sure their secretaries are taken care of, but pay the people in the trenches peanuts. It is disgusting that between my husband and I we have to work 4 jobs to bring in as much as Dr. Markley’s mistress. Looks like I should have listened to my grandmother and taken up typing….

  • Guest1851658 says:

    If you are working 4 jobs, you are attempting to live beyond your means. Make your lifestyle fit your income, not the other way around. As for comparing secretaries to teachers, that is like comparing apples and oranges. For whatever reason, teachers have been put on pedestals, simply because they are entrusted to teach children. Should a 20 year teaching veteran who has consistantly turned out first rate students make as much as a secretary who has worked as such for 4 years? Yes, he should make more. Should a 5 year teaching veteran who does not really have what it takes to convey knowledge make as much as a 15 year secretary with excellent job skills? No, he should not. Think about it.

  • Denise Vermeulen says:

    I am a good secretary, can I get a job? In all honesty, I think money could be spent more wisely on teachers, teacher assistants, lunch menu upgrades and supplies. Upkeep of the schools is important also. Just saying my piece. I am from Wilmington but now live in a small town in Georgia. I don’t have a job here because there are so few available. If I made $75,000 as a secretary, I would be considered the wealthiest secretary in the whole of Southwest Georgia. I am sure the duties these secretaries are undertaking are comparable to the work load of any around here that having to make it with $20,000 per year. I think this is a serious mismanagement of funds.

  • becca freeman says:

    Where are the African America people whom are well qualified for these positions, and are capable of doing them? All of the above are Caucasian.What has gotten into New Hanover County Schools. I respect Dr. Markley and embrace the change and everything he endeavors to do for our county schools.However, I do feel if it was someone of the African American race the story would be different and we would have been fired without further investigation. My prayer goes out to Dr.Markley,that he will get it together, because it will be a Sad Day if Rick Holiday gets in office. At lease, Dr.Markley is for all students and shows no prejudice. I earnestly believe that Rick Holiday is behind all of this to try and sneak in this position. Keep in mind, election is around the corner After all , Dr. Markley can not increase salaries on his own, it has to go before the board anyway!!! That is another subject!!!! This is not the first time that something like this has happen, it seems as if this is a repeated behavior!!! Lord Help us All!!!!!

  • Guest, just another says:

    Really, that’s what you take away from this article? To immediately go to the race card? You are a complete racist. You have ignored the premise of the story and inducted race only into the thread. People like you are evil and pathetic.

    THAT’S why you don’t see “Africa America” people where you want to see them. Because, like it or not, they’re just Americans, and they haven’t put themselves in those positions. You don’t see others voicing their “European American” status, or “I’m an Asian American”. Get over it, such a racist.

  • Debbie1 says:

    Where are the African American people? Sitting back doing what they want because they and everyone else knows you can’t say anything, even the truth, about an African American employee. Here comes the NAACP. I will be very surprised if this post is allowed.

  • Randy says:

    Secretaries are not required to have any college. I know some of the finest teachers who have taught in some of the poorest schools. Did they turn out first rate students compared to the students the wealthier schools turned out, no. Did their students show progress in a year, absolutely and they continued to progress. Were those teachers horrible teachers because their students didn’t make top scores , no . Were the teachers at the wealthier school the better teachers because their students made some of the highest scores in the district , absolutely not.
    I don’t think you can compare the worth of a secretary against that of a teacher. A secretary learns a skill and typically stays with it, the teacher must constantly change to accommodate each of the 25+ students in their class ( or 100+ at the Middle and high school ), differentiated learning I believe it’s called.
    If a teacher can’t teach they should be relieved of their duties; however, I believe in a few short years this state will be begging for teachers.
    I admire someone who is working to improve their lifestyle, maybe they are trying to save money to buy a home. I doubt they are working 4 jobs so they can drive a Porsche.

  • Guest6979 says:

    Living beyond her means? Lets do the math. House/ Rent 900 electric 100 water/trash/ sewer 100 phone 100 car ins 100 health ins 400 gas 100 groceries 200 = 2000 a month in expenses. As a 13 year teacher breaking my paycheck up over 12 months I bring in 2100 a month. There is no room to get sick to visit family go to a movie, replace worn out clothes. Yea working beyond her means having to work 4 jobs. Nice try buddy.

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