Interim Superintendent Amber Dixon made it official last night: Fran Wilson will be her chief academic officer.
Wilson, who is currently a community superintendent, will have a contract "layered over" her existing contract, Board President Lou Petrucci said.
"So in case a new superintendent comes in and wants to put someone else in, they have that option," he said.
Wilson will be making $150,000, he said -- $18,000 a year less than former Deputy Superintendent Folasade Oladele, and about $29,000 more than Wilson makes as community superintendent. Will Wilson's position be filled?
"We're restructuring our exempt positions and central office staff," Petrucci said. "Different contracts will be expiring in the next few months. Some will not be renewed. Other new positions will be created."
As I've mentioned before, critics note that Wilson has little experience as a teacher -- she worked for 10 years in the district as an elementary school counselor. The only teaching experience listed on her resume is as a summer school teacher at School 68.
She has served as assistant principal at Southside Elementary (including a few months in there as acting principal), principal at Hamlin Park School 74, and principal at Makowski.
Dixon dismisses criticism of Wilson.
"Fran Wilson brings to the position a background of turning around a low-performing school, School 74. She's academically strong. She understands student achievement. And she's a strong leader," Dixon said. "Her interests are those of the students of the district. She has great respect for students, teachers and principals in this district. Her hard work speaks for itself."
Critics have also noted that Wilson was among the administrators who collected stipends on top of their district salaries for work on the Leadership Academy. Wilson was paid $19,000 over two years.
And, following a district investigation, she also ended up giving back two personal days and six and a half vacation days for compensate for district time she spent working on the academy.
"She did teach a course at the Leadership Academy. It's true," Dixon said. "But it's a new day in the Buffalo schools. "If there's a feeling that [Wilson's appointment] is part of the old guard, people should trust that the board of education only has interest in moving forward."
- Mary Pasciak