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In response to David Ryan’s March 21 letter about the salary of St. Mary’s Superintendent Michael Martirano, I challenge Mr. Ryan to compare Dr. Martirano’s salary with all its “perks and benefits” to that of the CEO of any mid-sized nonprofit (average $137,000 a year) or the CEO of a nonprofit hospital (average $600,0000 a year).

The experience and education that our superintendent brings to the job is worth every penny we pay him. At least when Dr. Martirano is finished with his time in St. Mary’s he will not be drawing a lifetime of benefits he never contributed to and he will share the same health benefits of us “common folk.” If you are worried about your tax dollars being misused, maybe we should work together to examine the earnings of those fantastic elected officials of ours.

As for Dr. Martirano’s ability to “sell ice cubes to Eskimos,” this implies that he is selling something we should not want. I thought that people should be hired on their ability to do a great job. The best person for the job should be someone you want to do things for and should have the ability to motivate people. Dr. Martirano is that person.

As with any supervisory job, it comes benefits that maybe exceed what other people think a person should get. However, considering that most of the time Dr. Martirano’s day starts before the first bus run and ends well past the last performance of the local high school’s drama club, I am certain that his compensation does not even closely compare to what he could make in the private sector.

I am growing tired and wary of the people who feel like teachers, administrators or any school personnel should have to apologize for making a competitive salary or negotiating a decent contract. Teachers, and school staff of any kind, certainly did not go into the teaching profession to be rich, but that does not mean we should be in the poorhouse.

Mr. Ryan, you mistakenly say Mr. Martirano — it is Dr. Martirano — and he should be paid accordingly. Stop putting such little value on our jobs just because you went to school and think you know what we do. I welcome anyone, anytime, to spend a week at a school or administrative building shadowing our amazing staff. I guarantee you will come away from the week with a completely different perspective.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a yearbook to finish, a drama club program to type, and after that I need to see what I can do to help get the talent show up and running, but only after I finish grading five sets of 27 papers, making my lesson plans for the week and analyzing the latest math and reading data. I hope you enjoy your evening off, Mr. Ryan. While you are sleeping, the staff of St. Mary’s County Public Schools will be working behind the scenes to make our school system the top one in the state.

Sherri Jilek, Mechanicsville

The writer is a teacher at Lettie Marshall Dent Elementary School.