Mayor Jim Ireton has returned to teaching elementary school full time, adding a second job to his schedule.
But the 44-year-old Salisbury native, elected in April 2009, said it won’t affect his ability to function as leader of the city of 31,000 residents.
“With the onset of technology and the smartphone there will be very little problem doing two full-time jobs. In reality, that is what I’ve done for my entire tenure as mayor,” Ireton said this week.
The mayor is a school system veteran, having worked part-time in Wicomico classrooms for the past six years. He is regarded as an enthusiastic and engaged teacher.
Ireton is teaching kindergarten to third-grade Leveled Literacy Intervention reading at Willards Elementary School.
“I cannot count the ways I love teaching. I cannot count the ways I love being Salisbury’s mayor,” he said.
“I’ve been teaching for over 20 years now. I’ve always been able to incorporate being mayor into every grade level I’ve taught over the past six years. Using my elected office as a teachable moment is what I’ve done with the invitations I’ve received since 2009,” he said.
The mayor’s annual salary is $25,000. Teachers in the 20-year range of experience earn $66,000 to $67,000, according to Tracy Sahler, who handles public relations for the Wicomico County Board of Education.
But Ireton said income wasn’t necessarily his reason for going back to teaching full time.
“With Mr. Stevenson and Mr. Arrington forming a dynamic team, we are running at full throttle,” he said, referring to Tom Stevenson, city administrator, and Terence Arrington, assistant city administrator.
“Mr. Day’s leadership and collaborative approach to governing at the legislative level is a welcome change,” he added, referring to Jake Day, president of the Salisbury City Council.
“As the final year of this term begins, my focus is on big picture items, continuing the downward trend in crime statistics and community policing, the large downtown revitalization projects, and the nonconforming use issues that we are expecting to be decided in the courts this year, and how they will affect the long term sustainability of our neighborhoods,” Ireton said.
Reach Susan Canfora at firstname.lastname@example.org.