MONROE – The Union County Board of Education has extended Superintendent Andrew Houlihan's contract through 2025 and given him a $20,000 salary increase.

Houlihan's contract wasn't set to expire until two years from now. Melissa Merrell, who chairs the school board, said July 13 that legally the board could only extend his contract to 2025, but members want to keep him here through 2030 and beyond.

Earlier this year, Houlihan was named Regional Superintendent of the Year by the Southwest Education Alliance. In 2019, he was named a Superintendent to Watch by the National School Public Relations Association.

Board member Gary Sides said Houlihan's contract extension and raise was well-deserved. He commended staff for their hard work in getting the district through the most difficult of times during the pandemic.

Merrell compared operating UCPS during the pandemic to running three school districts simultaneously with just one budget. Students were either in Plan A, Plan B or a virtual academy that staff created seemingly overnight, she said.

“You did it with grace, professionalism and at every turn, you kept our students first,” Merrell told Houlihan during the school board meeting.

Houlihan hasn't received a raise since he was hired as superintendent in 2016, according to Vice Chair Kathy Heintel.

“I am extremely proud to be the superintendent of Union County Public Schools,” Houlihan said. “We have the best educators in the state and it gives me great joy to work with our amazing principals, administrators, teachers and staff each day. I am looking forward to continuing to serve the Union County community.”

The school board also extended contracts for the seven members of Houlihan's administrative cabinet to 2025 and increased their salaries by $7,500. Heintel said they haven't received raises from the board since 2016.

The cabinet includes:

• Michele Morris, general counsel

• Brad Breedlove, chief academic officer

• Shanna McLamb, chief of financial services

• Jay Parker, chief technology officer

• Tahira Stalberte, assistant superintendent, communications and community relations

• Bashawn Harris, assistant superintendent, human resources

• Jarrod McCraw, assistant superintendent, student support

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