The million-dollar salaries of NYC’s elite private school principals


Headteachers at elite NYC private schools where parents are up in arms about critical race theory lessons are earning salaries in excess of $1 million a year.  

School tax filings, obtained by the New York Post, reveal that seven school heads took home more than $1 million each in total compensation in the year ending June 30 2020. 

Another three broke the $900,000 benchmark, putting them all in the nation’s top one percent of earners.  

Their hefty salaries come amid a growing number of controversies at several of the elite NYC prep schools where some parents and teachers have complained about the ‘woke’ ideology being taught to children. They have accused their schools of ‘woke-weaning’ the kids by indoctrinating them with critical race theory lessons from an early age. 

School tax filings, seen by the New York Post, reveal 7 school heads received over $1 million each in total compensation in the year ending June 30 2020. The biggest earner was Thomas Kelly (pictured)

Kelly is the principal at Horace Mann (pictured) in the Bronx. He earned $1,272,141 in the last tax year

Kelly is the principal at Horace Mann (pictured) in the Bronx. He earned $1,272,141 in the last tax year 

The salaries of NYC’s elite prep school heads

1. Thomas Kelly

School: Horace Mann

Pay: $1,272,141 

2. Paul Burke 

School: Nightingale-Bamford School 

Pay: $1,195,538  

3. John Allman

School: Trinity

Pay: $1,128,031

4. Jessica Bagby

School: Ethical Culture Fieldston

Pay: $1,098,788 

5. Lee Levison

School: Collegiate

Pay: $1,087,660

6. Dominic Randolph

School: Riverdale Country Day

Pay: $1,075,504 

7. Patricia Hayot 

School: Chapin

Pay: $1,041,864

8. Bodie Brizendine 

School: Spence 

Pay: $942,615

9. Jane Foley Fried

School: Brearley 

Pay: $939,622

10. Jim Best

School: Dalton

Pay: $937,973 

11. William Donohue

School: Columbia Grammar Prep

Pay: $539,70

The biggest earner was Thomas Kelly, who earned $1,272,141 as principal at Horace Mann in the Bronx. 

Close behind was Paul Burke, the head of Nightingale-Bamford School on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. 

He earned $1,195,538 including a salary of $918,502 and other compensation such as housing of $219,343.

The Upper West Side’s Trinity, which was among the schools targeted with mobile billboards this week reading ‘diversity not indoctrination’ and ‘WOKE SCHOOL? SPEAK OUT’ this week, pays its head $1,128,031.

John Allman received a salary of $751,348, $105,300 bonus, $47,250 in deferred compensation, and $224,133 in benefits, including a brownstone house. 

At Riverdale Country Day school, principal Dominic Randolph took home total earnings of $1,075,504, including $1,018,857 salary, housing and a social club membership. 

One parent, Bion Bartning, said he was so upset with the ideologies being taught at Riverdale that he pulled his children out of the $54,000-a-year school. 

Bartning then went further, founding the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) to fight back against what he calls a dangerous new ‘orthodoxy’ in schools.  

Spence school, the all-girls school in the Upper East Side, paid head Bodie Brizendine $886,860 in salary, contributing to her total compensation of $942,615.

An alum slammed the school in April after it sent out a letter and posted it on the school’s website commenting on Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict for the murder of George Floyd. 

This came after billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson threatened to stop donating to the $54,000 school last year citing ‘anti-white indoctrination’ in the curriculum being taught to his two daughters. 

Brearley has also been at the center of controversy after parent Andrew Gutmann said he was pulling his daughter from the all-girls over its woke antiracism ‘obsession’ which he described as efforts to ‘brainwash’ students.   

The head of the school, Jane Foley Fried, was paid $939,622, including a salary of $717,888, $87,500 bonus and housing and maid service valued at $98,879.

Dalton’s Jim Best took home slightly less with $937,973 total compensation including a salary of $888,377. His school was the first – and arguably the most prestigious – to be hit with a critical race theory scandal last year. 

Best announced in April he is stepping down this year after being slammed by parents for pushing an ‘obsessive’, antiracism agenda on students.  

His resignation came after a group of Dalton parents penned an anonymous open letter to the school describing an ‘obsessive focus on race and identity’.

The school was embroiled in further controversy this month as parents fumed that its health and wellness educator Justine Ang Fonte showed first-graders sex education videos that appear to include information about masturbation.  

Chapin - an all-girls school in Upper East Side

Patricia Hoyt (right) received a total package of $1,041,864

At Chapin – an all-girls school in Upper East Side (left) Patricia Hoyt (right) received a total package of $1,041,864

Others with salaries upward of $1 million included Lee Levison

Collegiate School on the Upper West Side

Others with salaries upward of $1 million included Lee Levison (left) who was head of the all-boys Collegiate School on the Upper West Side (right) until last June. His total compensation package reached $1,087,660, including a salary of $936,323

Fonte also held a lecture at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School on ‘electro porn.’ She has since agreed to step down from her role at Dalton amid ongoing outrage. 

Columbia, the $47,000-a-year private school once attended by Barron Trump, paid its own head William Donohue $539,700, including a $442,017 salary and a $75,000 bonus. 

Local parents say Columbia, which sits on New York’s Upper West Side, is not as ‘woke’ as other schools which have recently hit the headlines.

They are said to be pushing back hard against proposals to hire a diversity coordinator at the school, for fears it will end up like other local institutions now accused of being obsessed with racism.  

Others with salaries upward of $1 million included Lee Levison who was head of the all-boys Collegiate School on the Upper West Side until last June.

His total compensation package reached $1,087,660, including a salary of $936,323. 

Ethical Culture Fieldston’s Principal Jessica Bagby earned a total package of $1,098,788 last year, including $795,872 in salary, a $112,500 bonus, $63,096 in ‘other compensation’ and other benefits including housing and car allowances.

And Chapin’s Patricia Hoyt received a total package of $1,041,864.  

The Upper West Side's Trinity was among the schools targeted with mobile billboards this week reading 'diversity not indoctrination'

It pays its head John Allman $1,128,031

The Upper West Side’s Trinity (left), which was among the schools targeted with mobile billboards this week reading ‘diversity not indoctrination’ and ‘WOKE SCHOOL? SPEAK OUT’ this week, pays its head John Allman $1,128,031 (right)

Ethical Culture Fieldston's Principal Jessica Bagby

Ethical Culture Fieldston

Ethical Culture Fieldston’s (right) Principal Jessica Bagby (left) earned a total package of $1,098,788 last year

Paul Burke, the head of Nightingale-Bamford School on Manhattan's Upper East Side

He earned $1,195,538 including a salary of $918,502 and other compensation such as housing of $219,343

Paul Burke (left), the head of Nightingale-Bamford School (right) on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He earned $1,195,538 including a salary of $918,502 and other compensation such as housing of $219,343

Riverdale Country Day 

Riverdale Country Day school, where principal Dominic Randolph earned a seven-figure salary in the last tax year, has come under fire over its anti-racism initiatives in recent months.

Bion Bartning’s two young children attended Riverdale until he pulled them from the school last year over what he described as the dangerous new ‘orthodoxy’ it is teaching students.  

Bartning, who is Mexican and Yaqui on one side and Jewish on the other, said he was shocked to learn that schoolchildren are being forced to label themselves as privileged or oppressed by skin color.

‘I don’t fit into any of those race buckets,’ Bartning told the New York Post. 

‘I think it is wrong to be teaching kids these socially constructed race categories.

‘It’s a destructive ideology, teaching children to be pessimistic and full of grievance rather than being optimistic and full of gratitude. It goes against all the values I was raised with, and there are many out there who feel as I do,’ he said.  

Principal Dominic Randolph

Riverdale Country Day school

At Riverdale Country Day school (right), principal Dominic Randolph (left) took home total earnings of $1,075,504, including $1,018,857 salary, housing and a social club membership

One parent Bion Bartning said he was so upset with the ideologies being taught at Riverdale that he pulled his children out of the $54,000-a-year school

One parent Bion Bartning said he was so upset with the ideologies being taught at Riverdale that he pulled his children out of the $54,000-a-year school

Bartning said he had even encountered instances of children being given color palettes to match with their skin tone to assess their level of privilege.

He said even his Soviet Union-raised wife found the anti-racist teachings ‘alarming’. 

Bartning has since launched FAIR, which describes itself as a ‘nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing civil rights and liberties for all Americans, and promoting a common culture based on fairness, understanding and humanity’ on its website.

The organization was launched last month to tackle what it calls neo-racism and ‘intolerant orthodoxy’ in US institutions and has quickly become a champion for those condemning antiracism teachings in schools. 

Board members include former New York Times journalist Bari Weiss and media pundit Megyn Kelly – who pulled her two sons from their Upper West Side private school last year due to its ‘woke’ teachings. 

Spence school 

Spence came under fire for its ‘woke’ teachings in April when it commented on Derek Chauvin’s conviction for the murder of George Floyd. 

The school, which boasts notable alum including Gwyneth Paltrow and Kerry Washington, sent a letter out and posted a statement on its website.

In it, head Bodie Brizendine called the conviction a ‘crucible moment for our nation and for our ongoing struggle for racial justice and equity.’ 

‘The jury’s verdict, an important step toward accountability and healing, however, does not erase the tragedy of the murder of George Floyd, and there is important work ahead that requires our collective voice and courage,’ the letter reads.   

‘Our charge and our struggle remain the same: to shape a world that rejects injustice and hate, and offers dignity and humanity for all individuals and communities. Our Anti-Racism Task Force Report—deeply rooted in our mission that has never wavered from the tenets of inclusivity, belonging and justice—stands as our important path forward for our school and our community,’ it reads. 

Spence school, the all-girls school in the Upper East Side

It paid head Bodie Brizendine $886,860 in salary, contributing to her total compensation of $942,615

Spence school (left), the all-girls school in the Upper East Side, paid head Bodie Brizendine (right)  $886,860 in salary, contributing to her total compensation of $942,615

‘More immediately, and in the aftermath of this trial, we turn our attention to our students who look to us to help them comprehend this moment. Our divisional counselors are ready to support our students with developmentally appropriate care and guidance.  

‘The bottom line is that these types of crimes should not be happening. Full stop. And, as our community continues to move forward, we will also continue to remember the loss of life—men, women and children—who have fallen prey to senseless brutality.’

Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.  

An alum who asked not to be named received the letter and was appalled, telling DailyMail.com she was shocked at ‘how they forced students to get involved’ in the trial. 

‘Where is the protection of innocence?’ she said.  

‘I attended Spence School and wrote a letter about their involvement in the Chauvin trial. I was appalled they were subjecting children to such horror.’   

This controversy came after billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson hit out at the school’s ‘anti-white indoctrination’ as far back as 2017. 

Billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson and his wife Jenny (pictured in 2017) accused Manhattan's elite all-girls Spence School of 'anti-white indoctrination' three years ago

Billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson and his wife Jenny (pictured in 2017) accused Manhattan’s elite all-girls Spence School of ‘anti-white indoctrination’ three years ago

Paulson, who became a celebrity in the banking industry after raking in billions from his bet against the American housing market ahead of the 2008 financial crisis and served as an economic adviser to Donald Trump, made the claims in a letter to the school in 2017 that was unearthed this week by Page Six

At the time both of Paulson’s daughters, Giselle and Danielle, attended the school on the Upper East Side, which charges nearly $50,000 per year in tuition and boasts many famous alumni including Gwenyth Paltrow.

In the letter, signed by Paulson and his wife Jenny, the couple describe several examples of reading materials their daughters received which they claim include malicious portrayals of white people. 

They argued that the curriculum is ‘designed’ to promote anti-white ideologies by teaching students, of which less than a quarter are minorities, that white people are successful because of their race.   

Brearley 

At Brearley, where head Jane Foley Fried was paid $939,622, found itself at the center of controversy as one New York father hit out at its teaching of Critical Race Theory.

Andrew Gutmann, 45, revealed in an April letter that he pulling his daughter from the school, where annual tuition is $54,000, over its woke antiracism ‘obsession.’ 

He told the New York Post he sent the 1,700-word letter to 650 different families because ‘someone had to speak out.’ 

‘She hasn’t been brainwashed yet by the school – but she’s had me at home. I’m not so sure that’s true of the other kids,’ Gutmann told the outlet, referring to his daughter. 

‘Someone had to do it. Someone had to light the match. Everyone’s so afraid of cancel culture. We’re going to destroy the city, we’re going to destroy the country.’   

Brearley has also been at the center of controversy

The head of the school, Jane Foley Fried (right), was paid $939,622

Brearley (left) has also been at the center of controversy. The head of the school, Jane Foley Fried (right), was paid $939,622 

Andrew Gutmann, 45, said he was pulling his daughter from the all-girls over its woke antiracism 'obsession' which he described as efforts to 'brainwash' students

Andrew Gutmann, 45, said he was pulling his daughter from the all-girls over its woke antiracism ‘obsession’ which he described as efforts to ‘brainwash’ students

Fried responded by sending a message to the school’s families in which she slammed Gutmann’s letter as ‘deeply offensive and harmful.’ 

Gutman has appeared in the media several times since, pushing back against Critical Race Theory being taught in schools.   

‘What the school is saying, what all these schools are saying, is that if you don’t agree with us, we don’t want a dialogue, don’t even want your kid in our school,’ Gutmann told DailyMail.com during an exclusive interview at his home on April 20.  

‘They shove it down our throats. Honestly, I have no problem if people disagree with everything I wrote. But there has to be a dialogue. That’s my point.’  

Gutmann said the educational problems can’t be fixed until ‘we eradicate the insidious cancer that is cancel culture.’ 

The parent also said he had refused to sign the school’s anti-racism pledge in October. 

The school had started the required pledge after black alum accused it of racism in posts made to the Instagram account account ‘Black at Brearley.’ 

Dalton 

Dalton has been plagued by numerous controversies including its teaching of Critical Race Theory and claims first-grade children are being taught about masturbation.  

Parents last month were left furious that first-graders had been shown sex education videos that appear to include information about masturbation. 

Justine Ang Fonte, a health and wellness teacher at the school, allegedly showed students a video last fall from the free sex education series for children called AMAZE, in which a cartoon boy asks about erections.

Fonte’s classes also reportedly included lessons on gender identity and consent, instructing children that their parents and grandparents should not touch them without asking permission.

Dalton's Jim Best took home $937,973

Best announced in April he is stepping down this year after being slammed by parents for pushing an 'obsessive', antiracism agenda on students

Dalton’s (right) Jim Best (left) took home $937,973 total compensation. Best announced in April he is stepping down this year after being slammed by parents for pushing an ‘obsessive’, antiracism agenda on students

Several parents complained about to school administrators but were told they had misinterpreted the lessons.

This came after headmaster Jim Best announced in April he was stepping stepped down from his role amid a wave of criticism over the school’s teaching of Critical Race Theory.  

Best said he would see out the year at the $50,000-a-year institution then step down to pursue ‘other opportunities’. 

His resignation came after Dalton parents penned an anonymous open letter to the school earlier this year describing an ‘obsessive focus on race and identity’.

Parents last month were left furious that first-graders had been shown sex education videos (above) that appear to include information about masturbation

Parents last month were left furious that first-graders had been shown sex education videos (above) that appear to include information about masturbation 

In the video, a cartoon little boy asks: 'Hey, how come sometimes my penis gets big sometimes and points in the air?'

In the video, a cartoon little boy asks: ‘Hey, how come sometimes my penis gets big sometimes and points in the air?’

The video also teaches the first graders about the differences between a penis and a clitoris

The video also teaches the first graders about the differences between a penis and a clitoris

‘Every class this year has had an obsessive focus on race and identity, ‘racist cop’ reenactments in science, ‘de-centering whiteness’ in art class, learning about white supremacy and sexuality in health class. 

‘Wildly inappropriate, many of these classes feel more akin to a Zoom corporate sensitivity-training than to Dalton’s intellectually engaging curriculum,’ it read.  

In December, the school published an anti-racism manifesto, saying the school hired 12 diversity officers and proposing ‘Black liberation’ courses and classes challenging white supremacy.

It also suggested that if black students were not performing at the same level as white students by 2023, it would abolish some of its courses entirely. 

The school has said it would require both pupils and parents to take part in anti-racist training, and to assist in ‘identifying and eliminating policies, practices and beliefs that uphold racial inequality.’ 

Dalton said it will ‘adapt our policy to better live up to our stated values as a visibly, vocally, structurally anti-racist institution.’  

Former students at Dalton include Anderson Cooper, Chevy Chase and Claire Danes.

Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School

Parents at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School have been up in arms this month after juniors were required to attend a lecture on porn entitled: ‘Pornography Literacy: An intersectional focus on mainstream porn.’

The lecture, held by Fonte, taught around 120 students aged 16 and 17 about how people can be aroused by electrocution videos.

‘So electro is like actual … electrocuting … that they’re doing on porn, but people are actually attracted and aroused by it,’ Fonte tells the students in the leaked audio. 

‘So even if it’s actually fake and you know, hopefully the performers are protected or we have real people who are searching for that because that’s what they get off to.’

She added that her goal ‘as a sex educator is that my students, grades one through 100, have a safe, fulfilling and pleasurable sexual lives, wherever it is going to be relevant for them.’   

It paid its head William Donohue $539,700

Columbia is the $47,000-a-year private school once attended by Barron Trump

Columbia (right), the $47,000-a-year private school once attended by Barron Trump, paid its own head William Donohue (left) $539,700, including a $442,017 salary and a $75,000 bonus

Students also learned how porn takes care of ‘three male vulnerabilities,’ and were shown statistics on the ‘orgasm gap’ — showing straight women have fewer orgasms with their partners than gay men or lesbians.

They were also shown photos of partially-nude women, some of whom were in bondage to analyze ‘What is porn and what is art?’ 

Another slide cited various genres of porn, such as ‘incest-themed,’ consensual or ‘vanilla,’ ‘barely legal,’ ‘kink’ and BDSM. 

The slideshow also included a list of the most-searched pornographic terms in 2019, including ‘anal,’ ‘gangbang’ and even ‘stepmom,’ and discussed OnlyFans, where ‘content creators’ share photos and videos of themselves naked or having sex with subscribers for a monthly fee. 

Fonte also held a lecture at Columbia on 'electro porn'. The slideshow presented to students included images of partially-nude women, asking students if it was 'art or porn?'

Fonte also held a lecture at Columbia on ‘electro porn’. The slideshow presented to students included images of partially-nude women, asking students if it was ‘art or porn?’

The lesson also included statistics on the 'orgasm gap' showing straight women are less likely to orgasm than straight or gay men and gay women

The lesson also included statistics on the ‘orgasm gap’ showing straight women are less likely to orgasm than straight or gay men and gay women

Parents slammed the school – which was attended by Barron Trump before Donadl Trump took office – with one telling the Post, ‘none of the parents knew this was planned. We were completely left in the dark.

‘It makes us wonder what else the school is up to,’ the unnamed mother said. 

School officials later apologized to parents for the lecture, with Donohue saying they were not aware of what the lesson would entail.

He wrote that the ‘context and tone of the presentation did not represent our philosophy, which is to educate our students in ways that promote personal development and overall health, as well as to express respect for them as individuals.’ 



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