Mamie Till Mobley

"There was an important mission for me, to shape so many...young minds as a teacher. God took away one child but...(gave) me thousands. And I have been grateful for the blessing." Mamie Till Mobley

Sunday, September 18, 2011

New superintendent Amber M. Dixon challenges ahead

Amber M. Dixon, former executive director for evaluation, accountability and project initiatives stepped into her new role as interim superintendent of the Buffalo Schools.
She earned $109, 000 in her old post now  $179,000 as interim superintendent $45,000 less than predecessor James A. Williams  $220,000 salary. Her contract has no set end date just 30 days notice when either she or the district terminates it.
With the exception of two board members who didn't vote for Dixon for interim,  at large Florence Johnson and new East Ferry Rep. Sharon Belton Cottman, she has the support of the other members and there is a likelihood if she does well she'll be a strong candidate for superintendent of the Buffalo Schools when she applies for the post if she is interested.
Dixon more than Williams spent ten years working as a math teacher unlike Williams who had a business degree, pupil personnel background and limited experience as a classroom teacher mostly as a substitute. If she is able to negotiate the outstanding contracts in the district from teachers to administrators while she is an interim superintendent undoubtedly she'll be a leading contender for the post as the Buffalo Board of Education already embarked on the process to search for a permanent superintendent for the Buffalo Schools.
Some of her greatest challenges ahead:
  • negotiating the expired union contracts, 
  • fortifying a relationship with Albany bureaucrats in the state education department to obtain Race to the Top funding for the persistently lowest achieving schools, 
  • trimming the exempt employees among the Central Office staff many of them her former colleagues, 
  • establishing relationships with the unions,  
  • developing a relationship with the school board that doesn't pit one against the other,  
  • establishing a new administrator selection process that is fair to the candidates interviewing for leadership positions in the districts, 
  • appointing a diverse leadership team at the school building level including administrators from the English Language Learner student population,
  • appointing a diverse  superintendent advisory cabinet representative of the school and community, 
  • recreating the Attendance Department and appointing a director of attendance with similar rank as a principal of a school to ensure attendance policies followed and implemented district-wide, 
  • revisiting the social promotion policy and its impact on overage students in the elementary schools
  • developing a rapport with the community especially parents.

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Whitney Tilson (3rd background)

Whitney Tilson (3rd background)
"Let’s be honest: we need a lot more well-off, well-educated white folks with a personal stake in both charter schools and education reform in general if we’re going to take reform to the next level, both politically and operationally.Whitney Tilson, hedge fund manager and major funding angel for the school privatizing Democrats for Education Reform, thinks there’s not enough rich, educated white folks.( Preaprez) click photo to his blog.

Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan
U.S. Secretary of Education, click photo