The Lincoln Academy Leadership Team is shown outside the school. The Lincoln Academy has hired 80% of its first-year positions.


The Lincoln Academy has hired 80% of its first-year positions and released the salary information for administrators after a request by Adams Publishing Group

Its CEO, Kristi Cole, will be paid $175,000 a year in addition to receiving moving expenses. It’s only slightly less than newly selected Beloit School District Superintendent Dan Keyser, who will be paid a salary of $177,500 a year in addition to funds placed in a tax-sheltered annuity, according to his two-year contract with the district, which covers July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2023.

When asked about the salary for an entity smaller than the public school district, Kids First Beloit Board of Directors Chairwoman Lisa Furseth said Cole holds a Ph.D. and brings more than 30 years of experience in urban education to her role in Beloit. Furseth added that Cole is charged with bringing a new organization to life and is responsible for hiring the entire school team. Furseth said her position has responsibilities much broader than a traditional superintendent.

“The task of bringing a school to life that will achieve the vision and outcomes we have established is hard work, and Dr. Cole has been working tirelessly to make this happen for the children of Beloit,” Furseth said. “As we wrap up the first year of her contract, she has already demonstrated the wisdom of the board’s selection.”

The other administrators will be paid as follows: chief instruction officer, $137,000 with a $5,000 signing bonus; chief operations officer, $135,000 with $5,000 for moving expenses; director of technology, $110,000; and director of scholar services, $90,000 plus $4,000 moving expenses.

The principal, Samuel Karns, will earn a salary of $100,000 plus $7,500 in moving expenses.

The director of career planning and partnerships will receive a salary of $75,000 plus $8,000 for tuition reimbursement and an additional $4,000 for being released from a previous district’s contract as the person was hired in August.

The assistant principal of instruction will receive $87,500, the dean of students K4 through 5 will be paid $65,000, and the dean of students 6-12 will earn $65,000.

Furseth said compensation rates both locally and regionally have been taken into account in order to ensure salaries are competitive.

Staff is not eligible to participate in the Wisconsin Retirement System, so the school has a 401(k) retirement plan for staff that includes an employer match.

“We don’t offer a pension plan, but we have a retirement savings plan,” Furseth said.

The initial teacher salary plan is based on educational background and years of experience, including industry experience where applicable. Teaching staff will receive step increases annually. The school has also incorporated bonuses up to 10%, and teachers, administrators and support staff will be eligible for those bonuses. The bonus would include meeting individual and school-wide expectations such as attendance and academic contract goals.

The plan also includes incentives for longevity milestones, such as three, five, seven and 10 years of employment.

“We really want the entire school team focused on the academic performance and development of students and have a structured compensation to reflect those priorities,” Furseth said.

When asked if the school would be adding a communications and marketing position, Furseth said there is not one budgeted at this time.

“We are still assessing what our needs will be in that regard. The director of scholar services will have primary responsibility for communication with families, and that is our highest priority,” Furseth said.

The Lincoln Academy is still recruiting for a special education coordinator, four teacher positions, a speech pathologist and several educational assistants.


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