The new superintendent for Flagstaff Unified School District will be making $21,000 more than previous superintendent Barbara Hickman.

But he'll also be taking of pay cut of more than $15,000.

The FUSD Governing Board is in the process of signing a two-year contract with Mike Penca, the interim superintendent of Mason City Schools in Iowa. The board approved the contract with an annual salary of $147,500 with Penca last week.

He will take over in July from Dave Dirksen, who has served as interim superintendent while FUSD has searched for a replacement for Hickman, who left in 2016 to work for the Colorado Department of Education.

Hickman’s salary when she left was $126,243. Dirksen has an annual salary of $124,636.

Penca will actually be taking a pay cut, even though he will be overseeing a larger school district. Mason City Schools has about 3,700 students. FUSD has about 10,000 students. According to the Mason City Globe Gazette, his salary in Mason City is $163,000. Penca is expected to start with FUSD in July, after his contract with Mason City ends on June 30.

Penca has served as a teacher, principal and administrator for Mason City Community schools for more than 20 years. He was appointed interim superintendent for the district in June 2016. According to the Globe Gazette, Penca took on the role of interim superintendent for a year after the district board reached an agreement with its previous superintendent, Anita Michich, to leave office a year early. He applied for the permanent job but was not chosen.

The reporter can be reached at sadams@azdailysun.com or (928)556-2253.


Education/Business Reporter

Suzanne writes about education and business. She covers the local school district, charter schools and Northern Arizona University. She also writes the Sunday business features.

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