Questions concerning Berkeley Co. Schools superintendent’s certification

The South Carolina Department of Education says they do not have a superintendent certification on record for Dr. Anthony Dixon,
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 4:49 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2022 at 11:24 PM EST
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MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Education says they do not have a superintendent certification on record for Dr. Anthony Dixon, Berkeley County Schools’ newest superintendent.

The majority of the school board voted to fire former Superintendent Deon Jackson and replace him with Dr. Anthony Dixon just three weeks ago.

“By state board regulation, educators have to be appropriately credentialed for the positions that they hold,” Mary Hipp, director of educator services for the S.C. Department of Education, said.

According to the state board of education regulation on appointment of a superintendent, “Administrators serving as area or district superintendents for the first time after June 30, 1968, shall hold a superintendent’s certificate.”

When looking up Dr. Anthony Dixon’s name in the certification public lookup, no superintendent certification is listed.

David Barrow, BCSD board member-at-large, says this should be up for question.

“With teachers and other certified staff, must be certified in the areas of their employment status,” Barrow said. “So, why is Dr. Dixon an exception to this requirement?”

To receive a superintendent certification, the S.C. Department of Education says someone must provide a request, a college transcript and a verification and recommendation form from their alma mater or from the individual themselves. When getting a request, it will go on file and the department will provide correspondence to the requestee on what is missing.

Hipp says updating certifications in their system should only take a couple of weeks, depending on when universities can provide the criteria.

The S.C. Department of Education says they still need Dixon’s information from his alma mater, South Carolina State, to fulfill his certification.

Derek Phillips, the S.C. Department of Education’s communication director says it looks like they got a request for his superintendent certification from Dixon back in 2018 and another time since then. They did not give specific dates of these requests.

“As far as pursuing a position as a superintendent, districts set the criteria,” Hipp said. “You know, local boards will set the criteria for the individual that they’re looking for.”

She said it’s possible that if someone is working towards their certification when they’re hired as a superintendent, the district can request something, like a permit, within the holding period until they receive the certification.

If someone is named superintendent and is found out afterwards that they don’t hold the certification, Hipp says their Office of Federal and State Accountability has an auditing process that goes through what educators and administrators are up to date on their credentials. However, now all districts are in it every year.

The Berkeley County School District says Dixon is certified, and they don’t know why the department would say otherwise. Katie Tanner, the district’s public information officer, provided this statement.

Dr. Dixon completed all requirements of the EDS-Educational Administration program and was awarded the Educational Specialist Degree in July 2013. He additionally completed all requirements of the EDD- Educational Administration program and was awarded his Doctor of Education Degree in May 2018. Dr. Dixon requested an update to his certificate to include Superintendent as a certification field, and representatives from the state department indicated to him that they are only awaiting receipt of a form to be completed by representatives from his program of study. Once that process is complete, his certification will accurately reflect Superintendent as a certification field.

Additionally, Dr. Dixon was vetted by the School Board Association when becoming a finalist for the superintendency in spring 2021.

When asking South Carolina State about these requests, they say only the S.C. Department of Education can answer questions about a student’s academics. As of now, the department of education does not have those on record.