Speaking to NBC10 in an interview aired Wednesday night, former Philadelphia School District Superintendent Arlene Ackerman defended her decision to collect unemployment benefits after leaving the district at the beginning of the school year with a severance package worth more than $900,000.

"I'm taking something that is rightly mine," she told reporter Lu Ann Cahn from her new home in Albuquerque, which she said she was renting to be closer to her grandchildren.

Ackerman said that people who had criticized her for applying for unemployment, which could total $573 a week, didn't know her financial situation.

"I'm not a millionaire," Ackerman said, adding that she was "not living in luxury. I'm living a normal life."

She also told NBC10 that the money she would receive could not have been used instead to pay for children's educations because it comes from a special district fund set up to pay unemployment claims.

   - Anthony Campisi