Beaufort County School Board discusses McCracken principal's leave, takes no action

rheaton@beaufortgazette.comDecember 18, 2012 

Phillip Shaw

The Beaufort County Board of Education discussed the monthlong absence of a middle school principal but took no action after an executive session that was part of a specially called meeting Tuesday.

However, school board Chairman Fred Washington Jr. said after the nearly two-hour meeting that more information about "exactly what transpired" at H.E. McCracken Middle School could be available today.

Principal Phillip Shaw has been on paid leave since Nov. 8. His secretary, Denise Gibbo, has also been out since about the same time.

District officials initially called Shaw's absence a "personal leave" and said he would return in a few days. Then, the district said the Bluffton Police Department was investigating after schools officials discovered an unauthorized bank account during a "review of policies and procedures" at McCracken.

As it turned out, the bank account belonged to the Bluffton school's PTO, and the police closed their investigation without filing charges.

But schools officials have since revealed Shaw's absence was related to their ongoing review, and Shaw still had not returned as of Tuesday.

Interim superintendent Jackie Rosswurm has declined to elaborate, citing employee privacy concerns.

District spokesman Jim Foster confirmed Tuesday that the review of the school was ongoing and no date had been set for Shaw's return.

Attempts Tuesday to reach Shaw and Gibbo were unsuccessful. Shaw has said he believes he was placed on leave as part of a district cover-up of personnel complaints he filed against a counselor at the school.

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