The school board this week approved a contract for Newport-Mesa Unified's new superintendent.
Fred Navarro, 55, starts Aug. 1. His contract is effective through June 30, 2015.
He will earn $230,000 annually. Auto, phone and other stipends will bring his total compensation to $249,800 for his first year.
He will be eligible for merit-based raises beginning next year.
Navarro's predecessor, Jeffrey Hubbard, who served as superintendent from 2006 until January 2012 when he was convicted of two felonies, most recently made $305,920 annually.
Navarro's official hiring as superintendent brings an end to a months-long search for a permanent schools' chief.
As part of routine hiring practices, the district conducted a background check, but unlike in previous years, the school board hired a private investigator to help with the review, said
spokeswoman Laura Boss.
"I believe that Dr. Navarro will bring great stability to NMUSD," Boss said. "As an organization, we have been through a lot over the past few years. He presents himself in a very calm, collaborative and genuine manner and I am truly looking forward to working with him."
Between July 1 and Aug. 1, as he transitions into his new position, Navarro will be paid $1,069 for each full day, and $534 for each half day he performs Newport-Mesa related work, with a limit of five days total, according to Navarro's contract.
Navarro previously served as Costa Mesa High School's principal for three years, as schools' chief at Lennox School District for a year and a half and as assistant superintendent of education at Anaheim Union High School District for four and a half years.
He left Newport-Mesa in 2006 as the director of secondary education.
School board President Dave Brooks said he believes Navarro will bring new ideas to the table.
"I think he's just excellent," Brooks said. "I think he's a real man of integrity, innovation. I feel he has a lot of intuition as to what needs to be done. He is someone who has worked with our district before. I'm very high on him."
Brooks wasn't the only one pleased about the appointment.
"We're all pretty excited about this," Costa Mesa High School security officer Richard Gomez wrote in an email. "I think our district and our school is going to improve with Dr. Navarro in charge. It's been long overdue. Stay tuned for progress."
— Reporter Alicia Lopez contributed to this report.