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Dixon officially names Wilson her No. 2

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.

Fran WilsonWilson 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

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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.

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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.

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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 |

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.

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