The San Diego Board of Education unanimously voted to select Edward Velasquez as the interim county superintendent of San Diego Schools on Wednesday night.
Velasquez is the current interim superintendent at Poway Unified School District where he started two days ago. He will replace Dr. Randy Ward who is on paid administrative leave.
According to the board, Velasquez's ability to relate to vulnerable and disenfranchised students was one of reasons he was selected from a group of 12 applicants.
“I’m one of those students,” Velasquez said. "A teen parent. Grew up in Boyle Heights, a suburb of LA. It was gang infested--drugs. I had to deal with those issues."
Velasquez say he thanks the people who cared because he was able to follow the right path and become superintendent of Montebello and Lynwood School districts near Los Angeles.
He has also served as interim superintendent in three San Diego County school districts including Alpine Union and San Ysidro. Velasquez holds a master's in education from Azusa Pacific University and a bachelor's degree in fine arts.
"Mr. Velasquez has experience with the kind of students we educate here at the County Office of Education and a great personal background," said Board President Dr. Gregg Robinson in a statement.
Dr. Randy Ward, the current county superintendent of the San Diego schools was put on paid leave back in July pending a forensic audit. Ward allegedly has budget oversight over all 42 school districts in the county.
A lawsuit filed against Ward and the Chief Financial Officer of the district allege they gave themselves unauthorized raises.
As superintendent of Lynwood Schools, Velasquez says he had put his district on strong financial footing after finding financial wrong-doing.
He was also praised Wednesday night by the board for stabilizing finances last year as interim super at San Ysidro Schools.
Velasquez's hiring is contingent on an agreement to be approved at the board's next meeting August 10.
The other three candidates were current assistant superintendent Debbie Beldock, retired Oceanside Superintendent Larry Perondi and retired Carlsbad Superintendent John Roach.
One candidate dropped out before interviewing.