In 2015, the superintendent of Poway Unified district — which serves Poway and northern inland stretches of the city of San Diego like Rancho Bernardo — made the second-highest salary of any public schools chief in the state. District officials, proud of their high-performing schools in an affluent region, must have believed John Collins was worth it.
They sure don’t believe that now. By the summer of 2016, he’d been sacked, a fate that would be unusual for a teacher, let alone a superintendent. And then last week came an arraignment and a not-guilty plea to four felony charges.
What went wrong for this highly accomplished man who’s worked in education for four decades and now faces up to seven years in prison if convicted?
Our Ashly McGlone has been following the Collins saga and provides a big-picture view in a new story.
“His supporters and detractors disagree about the cause of his downfall,” she writes. “One camp believes a zealous slate of new school board members removed Collins without adequate cause, publicly and recklessly shaming him along the way. In the other camp, Collins is to blame, as well as an environment that lacked adequate accountability and oversight.”
One thing is clear: This wasn’t an instant debacle. The superintendent’s fall from grace, McGlone writes, “was more of a slow burn.”