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A new superintendent will temporarily take the reins of the Poway Unified School District Aug. 1.

Edward Velasquez, the man San Ysidro School District turned to in its time of need last year, will become interim superintendent of the 36,000-student K-12 Poway district, replacing John Collins.

Collins remains on paid leave as officials conduct an audit of his employment contract. The results have not yet been released to the public, but district spokeswoman Christine Paik said Collins’ leave, which began April 25, and the review are expected to conclude July 11.

Collins began working for the district as an assistant principal in 1989 and rose through the ranks. He’s been superintendent since July 2010.

Velasquez’s contract at Poway caps his annual hours at 560, with pay at $75 per hour, or a max of $42,000. It’s a paltry sum compared with the $300,000 base salary and roughly $500,000 total compensation package Collins currently receives.

Collins’ contract doesn’t expire until next July, but negotiations for an early departure have been under way for months.

Velasquez is currently interim superintendent of the Alpine Union School District, which just hired Poway Unified’s director of innovation, Rich Newman, as superintendent.

Velasquez worked at San Ysidro schools from February until July 2015 following the departure of disgraced superintendent Manuel Paul and other interim leaders. Velasquez, who spent most of his career in Los Angeles, has been credited with helping bring that district back from the brink of insolvency.

Velasquez did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Poway school board also hired a new human resources chief Wednesday, choosing personnel executive Sandra Huezo, who will earn $175,000 a year. Huezo most recently worked at the Sweetwater Union High School District, and San Diego Unified before that.

The board will have more top district positions to fill when both the head of facilities and associate superintendent of business retire this month.

Poway’s associate superintendent of learning, Mel Robertson, will continue to serve as acting superintendent until Velasquez arrives in August.

Ashly McGlone

Ashly is a freelance investigative reporter. She formerly worked as a staff reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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