Former Bluffton middle school principal Phillip Shaw still on paid leave

tbarton@beaufortgazette.comMarch 8, 2013 

Phillip Shaw

A former middle school principal on paid leave for more than four months still has not reported to the job he was reassigned to in early January, a Beaufort County School District official said Friday.

Phillip Shaw, former principal at H.E. McCracken Middle School in Bluffton, was named head of Right Choices, an alternative-school program at the district office for students who have been recommended for expulsion.

Shaw was reassigned Jan. 2, but district spokesman Jim Foster said Friday he has not reported for work.

His leave began Nov. 8, about the time district officials began a review of McCracken's policies and procedures. Shaw continues to be paid his $93,774 annual salary, Foster said.

An attempt Friday to reach Shaw for comment was unsuccessful.

Student services officer Terry Dingle continues to oversee Right Choices, in addition to his other duties. About 25 high school students are in the program.

Assistant principal Joe Warfield will continue to lead McCracken Middle until the district hires a full-time replacement. The district advertised for a replacement in mid-January, Foster said.

Shaw's office manager, Denise Gibbo, also has been on paid leave since the principal's departure and still is not back at the school, Foster said.

District officials have repeatedly refused to elaborate on the reasons for the paid leave.

"Each of them has made a personal decision to be on leave," Foster said. "I can't discuss the specifics of their individual decisions to go on leave, but there are various types of leave that are options for employees in both the public and private sectors: annual leave, family illness, personal illness and others."

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 school officials discovered an unauthorized bank account during a "review of policies and procedures" at McCracken. The review was prompted by a "personnel issue" related to Shaw, the officials said at the time.

The bank account was found to belong to the school's parent-teacher organization, and the police closed the investigation without filing charges.

Related content

  1. Former Bluffton middle school principal still has not reported to new job: Feb. 1, 2013
  2. McCracken principal reassigned to lead alternative Beaufort County school program: Jan. 14, 2013

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