Beaufort County school board names interim superintendent to replace Moss

Beaufort County superintendent Moss, “This is the toughest decision ... in my life”

Beaufort County School District superintendent Jeff Moss offers these parting words after the school board accepted his resignation at the May 15, 2018 school board meeting.
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Beaufort County School District superintendent Jeff Moss offers these parting words after the school board accepted his resignation at the May 15, 2018 school board meeting.

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Three weeks after Beaufort County schools superintendent Jeff Moss offered his resignation, the county's Board of Education unanimously chose an interim administrator with 46 years of experience to fill Moss' spot.

The board, which normally splits into factions, voted to hire Herbert Berg in an 11-0 vote Thursday night.

Berg, who retired in 2011, has worked as a superintendent for more than 35 years in Washington, Virginia and South Carolina. He was awarded Superintendent of the Year in 2006 and was twice named among the Top 100 American School Superintendents by the American Association of School Administrators.

Most recently, Berg served as superintendent at South Carolina's Kershaw County Schools from 2003-2007 and Lexington-Richland School District Five from 2008-2011.

During Berg's time at Lexington-Richland School District Five, voters passed a $244 million referendum — the first time an interim superintendent passed a referendum in the state. As a result, the district developed plans to build a new high school, middle school and a career and technical education center, according to his resume.

Berg’s accomplishments at the school district are in stark contrast to the Beaufort County school board's two attempts at passing similar referendums.

In the span of two years, voters have denied the Beaufort County School District millions of dollars to fund school construction projects.

The most recent $76 million bond referendum was rejected by an unprecedented scale — 72 percent against and 28 percent in favor.

The board interviewed seven potential candidates for the interim superintendent position, including Gary McCulloch, principal of River Ridge Academy, and six applicants from outside the district.

  • Gary McCulloch – Principal of River Ridge Academy from 2015-2018 and principal of Beaufort Elementary from 2013-15

  • Don Doggett – Superintendent of the McCormick County School District from 2016-2018

  • Donna Hargens – Superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky from 2011-17

  • Gene Moore – Superintendent of the Lancaster County School District from 2006-17

  • Vernon Prosser – Superintendent of York District 1 from 2009-2018

  • Jesse Washington – Superintendent of the Orangeburg Consolidated District 5 from 2015-18

Moss' resignation, which goes into effect July 31, capped an end to his five years in office which were plagued by ethics violations, two failed referendums and an ongoing FBI investigation related to the construction of two schools that were built during his tenure.

Two weeks ago, the school board approved the financial agreement ending Moss' employment without knowing how much it would cost taxpayers.

Moss will receive a $220,000 lump sum, equal to one year’s salary for the 2018-19 school year, to be paid Aug. 1, according to the agreement. He will also receive a $44,000 retirement fund contribution, as well as an unspecified amount of unused annual and sick leave.

This story will be updated.