With high-achieving students and a compensation package that made him the second highest-paid public school superintendent in the state, former Poway Unified superintendent John Collins had a firm spot among the upper echelon of California educators. Now he’s facing multiple felony charges. Though Collins’ fall from grace may seem abrupt, it was more of a slow burn.

The Poway Unified School District board believes former Superintendent John Collins, who was fired Sunday, took hundreds of thousands of dollars in unauthorized pay, according to dismissal charges obtained by Voice of San Diego and an audit report released by the district Monday.