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Board approves contract for new Fayette superintendent. Annual base salary: $275,000

·3 min read

The Fayette County Public Schools board on Thursday unanimously approved a four-year superintendent contract with Demetrus Liggins beginning July 26, 2021 with an annual base salary of $275,000.

The contract runs through June 30, 2025, said board chair Tyler Murphy, and sets out terms of Liggins’ salary, benefits and other conditions of his employment.

Liggins replaces Superintendent Manny Caulk who died in December 2020. Marlene Helm has served as interim superintendent since November.

Murphy and other district officials did not respond to questions about Liggins’ annual salary, but Murphy included the annual base salary in a Facebook post Friday morning.

“I’m pleased to share contract negotiations with Dr. Liggins went very smoothly over the past two weeks and the Board approved the contract unanimously last night,” Murphy said in the post.

School district officials would not immediately release a copy of the contract, asking for an open records request which district officials acknowledged receiving Friday morning.

Earlier this month, Greenwood/Asher and Associates, the executive search firm the board hired to find a superintendent, would not provide Liggins’ age.

Liggins is leaving the Greenville, Texas Independent school district to come to Lexington and is finishing up his work there, Murphy said.

“Dr. Liggins is very excited to get to Fayette County,” Murphy said during Thursday’s school board meeting.

“While Dr. Liggins is excited to join us in Fayette County next month, he remains committed to completing his important work in Greenville and supporting their own transition,” Murphy said in the Facebook post. “ We’ve assured him that we respect and recognize the need for him to engage in this task and that we will be ready to support and assist him in his transition to Fayette County.”

Liggins’ biography on the Greenville district’s website said he is a native of Longview, Texas. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degree from California State University, Fresno and a Master of Education degree and Superintendent Certification from Stephen F. Austin State University. He received his Ph.D. in K-16 Educational Leadership and Policy from University of Texas-Arlington.

Liggins began his career in education as a teacher in Fresno in 2000, according to his resume. He later moved back to Texas where he taught third grade bilingual education, a Texas newspaper, the Herald Banner reported.

Liggins is the father of one son, Vaughn, 20, an airman in the US Air Force, the Greenville, Texas school district website said.

After being hired in 2017, Liggins again signed a five year contract in Greenville in January 2019 at an annual salary of $180,000, according to the Herald Banner. When Caulk was hired in Lexington in 2015, his contract called for an annual salary of $240,000. In November 2020, Caulk’s annual salary was $281,888.

In April, Fayette school board members said compensation for the new superintendent was expected to be in the range of $235,000 to $285,000 with additional benefits. The salary could be higher, depending on the qualifications of the candidate, board members said at the time.

Several Greenville officials have praised Liggins’ tenure in Texas since his post in Fayette County was announced.

“Once a generation you land a leader with the skills and acumen to reach those touchstones in education that lift all children for opportunity and prepare them (for) success,” Loren T. Saxton, a Technology Board member of the Greenville Independent School District said in a recent Herald-Leader editorial. “ Dr. Liggins is just that superintendent.”

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