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A retirement worth $200,000? Former North Tonawanda superintendent ranks 24th among top educator pensions

Two retired Western New York superintendents have landed on the Empire Center's list of education retirees with the highest annual pension benefits.

Former North Tonawanda Superintendent John H. George's $206,493 annual pension benefit ranked 24th on the list of retired educators with the 100 highest annual pension benefits.

Howard S. Smith, who retired as superintendent of Williamsville in 2011, came in at 79, with an annual pension of $171,887.

See the entire list here

The Empire Center last week updated its pension database for state teachers and school administrators after the state Court of Appeals ruled that information must be made public. The think tank had sought the information under the state's open records law.

Most of the 100 top pension earners retired from school districts downstate, according to the Empire Center.

A 2008 story in The Buffalo News by Staff Reporter Mary Pasciak explained why George was able to retire with an annual pension that was larger than his salary. The story, "Educators hit pay dirt with pensions," noted that George cashed in on hundreds of days of unused vacation and sick time that he had earned during his 17 years as superintendent.

Search the entire pension database at Empire Center's seethroughny.net.

-- Denise Jewell Gee

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee | djgee@buffnews.com


Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes | tlankes@buffnews.com


Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone | stan@buffnews.com


Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB | dswilliams@buffnews.com

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