Former Beaufort High principal voluntarily gives up SC certificates

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comSeptember 16, 2013 

Former Beaufort High principal Dan Durbin

A former Beaufort High principal who resigned last year after admitting to changing students' grades has given up his South Carolina principal's certificate.

The S.C. State Board of Education voted Wednesday to accept Dan Durbin's voluntary surrender of his certifications for secondary principal, secondary supervisor and superintendent.

This brings an end to the year-and-a-half-long case. Durbin resigned in February 2012 after admitting to changing 200 grades for 33 students from August 2011 to January 2012. About 65 percent of the changes were from an "F" to a "D."

The state Department of Education notified Durbin of the possible suspension or revocation of his certifications last April. Durbin's lawyer initially requested a hearing before agreeing to the voluntary surrender.

In Durbin's agreement with the state board, he waived his right to a hearing. He is still allowed to apply for a South Carolina teaching certificate, which he does not have.

His surrender also will be reported to the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification Clearinghouse, a searchable database for education officials to conduct background checks.

Jay Ragley, state Department of Education spokesman, said if Durbin chose to apply for a teaching certificate in South Carolina, he would have to disclose the surrender and then would likely go through a different certification process to explain his situation before a state board panel.

Ragley said it is up to an individual state's laws whether Durbin could obtain in other states the three administrative certificates he surrendered.

Durbin and his attorney, Thomas Holloway of Harvey & Battey of Beaufort, could not be reached Monday for comment.

Beaufort County School District spokesman Jim Foster said the district did not have a role in the state board's decision.

The district began an investigation in February 2012. The grade changes were made "with partial or no documentation or justification," according to the consent order between the state and Durbin.

Durbin said some of the changes followed consultations with teachers, according to the consent order. He also has said that many of the changes were made for struggling students who had completed extra work. His decision to change the grades was based on a desire to "get the kids motivated to move on."

In his agreement with the state, Durbin said: "I agree that some grade changes occurred, but specifically deny that those changes and corrections were wrongful or unprofessional; nevertheless I understand that a tribunal could find otherwise and therefore agree with the terms of this agreement as the most expeditious way to conclude this matter."

Durbin had tried previously to reach a consent agreement with the state board, but that agreement was rejected in May. The terms of that agreement were not made public. Ragley said he did not know why the board rejected it and would not be able to provide that information even if he did know.

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Document: Durbin's voluntary surrender of administrator certificate

Former Beaufort High principal Dan Durbin's voluntary surrender of his administrator certificate

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