New England Boarding School Heads Are Making Bank

Cochran Chapel is among the landmarks on the campus of Phillips Academy in Andover.
Cochran Chapel is among the landmarks on the campus of Phillips Academy in Andover. –CHRISTOPHER KLEIN/ THE BOSTON GLOBE

Thinking of a career change? Looking to make serious money? Why not aim for headmaster of a New England boarding school?

According to GoLocal Worcester, the average compensation of the 50 highest paid New England boarding school heads is more than $420,000 per year. Tabor Academy – located in Marion, Mass., topped the list. The school’s headmaster makes a whopping $822,011.

Many of these private boarding schools produce famous and powerful alumni and leaders: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, went to Phillips Exeter, President John F. Kennedy went to Choate Rosemary Hall and Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush went to Phillips Academy Andover. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick went to Milton Academy. The list could go on. And on.


GoLocal reported the average tuition for these boarding schools is $52,720 per student. The average number of students at each of these schools is about 460 students. By comparison, the median compensation for college presidents in 2011 was $410,523, with 42 presidents making more than $1 million.

“The findings of the research disclosed that the salaries and compensation of boarding school headmasters and headmistresses is often above that of private colleges and universities that are four to ten times larger in student enrollment,’’ GoLocal Worcester reported.

GoLocal reported that the Board of Trustees of each of these boarding schools decides on the headmasters and headmistresses compensation and that many of the board members are, in fact, alumni of the school.

Steve Clem, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Association of Independent Schools in New England told GoLocal:

“It is the responsibility of Boards of Trustees to set appropriate compensation for the head of school. In doing so, boards will take into account myriad factors, but the major factors will be the head’s success in furthering the mission and strategic plan of the school, the head’s success in meeting the annual goals defined in conjunction with the Board, and the compensation package of the heads of comparable schools.’’

Here is a list of the top 10 total compensations for boarding school heads in New England, as reported by GoLocal from IRS 990 Forms as submitted by the school:

1. Jay S. Stroud (Tabor Academy), $822,011

*Jay S. Stroud retired in June 2012. Tabor’s Chief Financial Officer, Chris Winslow, told GoLocal that part of his package included a “one-time payment from a non-qualified retirement fund. Since his departure the school has done away with that form of retirement funding.’’


2. Thomas K. Sturtevant (Northfield Mount Hermon), $703,217

*Thomas Sturtevant resigned in June 2011.

3. Charles Cahn III (Suffield Academy), $664,679

4. Todd B. Bland (Milton Academy), $635,392

5. Robert Henderson (Noble and Greenough), $581,493

6. Barbara L. Chase (Phillips Academy Andover), $579,042

*Barbara L. Chase retired in June 2012.

7. Richard B. Commons (Groton School), $576,698

*Richard B. Commons resigned in June 2013.

8. Margarita Curtis (Deerfield Academy), $555,823

9. Alex Curtis (Choate Rosemary Hall), $537,310

10. Katherine G. Windsor (Miss Porter’s School), $517,373

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