The Lowcountry will have a regional charter school for gifted and talented students at the start of the 2010 school year.

Palmetto Scholars Academy received approval from the board of the South Carolina Public Charter School District last week, the final step in the charter school approval process.

"I'm excited, and what I feel great about is that we have a nationally recognized expert developing our curriculum," said Stacey Lindbergh, who is spearheading the effort to create the school. "Through her knowledge and relationships, we hope to make this charter school a great one."

The school has hired Shelagh Gallagher as a curriculum consultant.

Gallagher is an associate professor of gifted education at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte and has directed grants to develop a model middle school program for gifted youth.

She also has served on the board of directors for the National Association for Gifted Children.

Palmetto Scholars Academy will be the first regional charter school for the tri-county area. Students who live in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties will be able to attend the school, which will serve sixth- through eighth-grade students initially and later expand to serve high school students.

Its curriculum will be geared toward academically advanced students, but being gifted will not be a requirement for admission to the school. It will be the first charter school of its kind in South Carolina.

Lindbergh said the school's top priority is finding a building, and the goal is to have that accomplished by Sept. 1. Organizers are considering a number of sites, and they hope to find one that's as centrally located as possible.

They also need to find a place for a temporary office where community members can find more information about the school.

The next goal is hiring a principal, and Lindbergh said she'd like to do that by January.