If you're going to be a high school principal, do it in the Hesperia Unified School District.

Principals at Hesperia's two (soon to be three) comprehensive high schools are the best paid in the Victor Valley, with a starting salary of $112,591 and a top salary, five years later, of $141,493.

In comparison, the top salary for their counterparts in the Snowline Joint Unified School District is $121,974, Victor Valley Unified High School District is $112,195, and Apple Valley Unified School District is $112,142.

"Being a comprehensive high school principal is just tough," said HUSD superintendent Mark McKinney.

The high pay for high school principals are matched by high expectations, he said. All principals, for instance, have to have a masters degree.

"That's not an option. Some districts, they may not have to have that," McKinney said.

Other than high school principals, HUSD principals make an above-average salary compared to their Victor Valley contemporaries.

Middle school principals in Hesperia start at $106,303 annually, and after five years, make $119,645. Only Adelanto School District middle school principals make more, with a starting salary of $118,585 and a top salary of $144,233. Snowline middle school principals max out at $114,672, Apple Valley maxes out at $103,941 and Victor Union maxes out at $98,946.

Elementary school principals in Hesperia are in a similar position, with a starting salary of $103,442 and a top salary, five years later, of $116,426. That puts them behind Adelanto again, with a maximum salary of $138,101, but ahead of Snowline, which has a top salary of $112,677 and Apple Valley, with a top salary of $97,603. Victor Elementary School District principals start at a salary of $107,614, and get annual raises of 1.23 percent of base pay.

"I think we're very competitive, but we're not at the top of the list," McKinney said.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.