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Dixon submits her resignation ‘Just want to part ways with district'

Amber M. Dixon on Tuesday submitted her resignation to the Buffalo Public Schools, effective at the end of August.

"I need to leave. I need to move on to another phase of my life, whatever it is," the former interim superintendent said. "I decided to take a positive step and wait for something new in my life. And I think something will come."

Dixon, 59, said she plans to continue working but does not yet know where or in what position. She's had two local interviews, along with "discussions with people looking for national consultants," she said, but declined to offer any details.

Soon after the School Board in June appointed Pamela C. Brown as superintendent – but before she signed a contract in July – Brown moved into the superintendent's seventh-floor office in City Hall, bumping Dixon back to her former office. For a few weeks, Brown was paid as a per diem consultant while Dixon stayed interim superintendent.

The symbolism of Dixon's quick relocation was not lost on City Hall staffers.

Relations between Dixon and several board members have been strained in recent weeks.

Tuesday, she said she wanted to quash rumors before they started, emphasizing that she was not forced out and had not taken a buyout.

"All I wanted was the provisions of my contract enforced – my vacation and sick days paid for, and health insurance when I retire," she said. "In no way did I feel forced out. I was helping determine the course of the organization [as interim superintendent]. It would really have been hard to go from that position to not really having much of a voice in the decisions that are made.

"I needed to keep moving in a positive trajectory. I didn't want to wait to see how things developed. I really just wanted to part ways with the district."

Dixon worked for the Buffalo district for 21 years, the first half of them as a math teacher. She then moved quickly up through the central office administrative ranks.

After serving as interim superintendent for 10 months, she has been using vacation days since mid-July, when the School Board approved a contract with Brown.

At that point, Dixon technically returned to her former position: executive director of evaluation, accountability and project initiatives, which carried an annual salary of $109,200. Her contract was to expire in June 2013.

Under the terms of her contract, she is entitled to taxpayer-funded health insurance upon retirement.

As a central office administrator, she accrued 26 vacation days on July 1 every year, along with 12 sick days every year on a prorated basis. Her contract allows her to be compensated for unused vacation time when she leaves the district, along with payment for one-third of her accumulated sick days.

She was required to give 30 days' notice when resigning.

Dixon hand-delivered copies of her resignation letter to City Hall on Tuesday, then resumed her beach vacation. She said she had another 25 days of vacation she could use but would be available if administrators need her.

After the board appointed Brown, Dixon said in an interview in late June that she would remain in her position in the district temporarily, until she found another job.

Recently, though, she had a change of heart. "I didn't want to keep my position at the Board of Ed while I waited for something else to come along. There was a lack of integrity in that move," she said Tuesday. "I really felt I didn't want to be collecting a paycheck while actively looking for another job. It just didn't feel right to me."

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