The principal of H.E. McCracken Middle School in Bluffton has been on personal leave since Thursday, but the school district refused Tuesday to explain his absence or say when he might return.
While Phillip Shaw is out, assistant principal Joe Warfield will lead the Bluffton school, district officials.
Office employees who answered the phone at the school said they did not know when Shaw would return to the school and referred calls to Warfield.
Jim Foster, spokesman for the Beaufort County School District, would not say whether Shaw took the leave of his own volition or was placed on leave by the district.
"What I can say is he is on personal leave, but I can't go into the specific circumstances because it is a personnel matter," Foster said.
"We don't have any reason to expect that he won't be coming back to work," Foster added.
Attempts Thursday to reach Shaw on a district-issued cellphone were unsuccessful. A call to the number early in the day resulted in a recording that said the number had been disconnected. However, a call later in the day went to voicemail; a message left there was not immediately returned.
Foster said that interim school superintendent Jackie Rosswurm, who "still wears her human resources hat," and Alice Walton of the human resources department were at the school Thursday to meet with Shaw.
It is unclear what the meeting was about. Attempts Tuesday to reach Rosswurm were unsuccessful.
Parents have not been notified of the leave because "at this point it's only been a few days," Foster said.
Shaw became principal of the school at the start of the 2006 school year.
Attempts to reach Laura Bush, the Board of Education's representative from Bluffton and Daufuskie Island, also were unsuccessful. Board member Julie Bell, who represents part of Hilton Head Island, said she was unaware of Shaw's leave.
The board last met Nov. 6, two days before Shaw's leave began.