GOOSE CREEK — The next Berkeley County superintendent should be a good communicator who can stretch a dollar while creating innovative and competitive programs that will benefit all students equally.

At least that was the opinion of the 10 people who turned up at Stratford High School on Tuesday night to discuss the qualities they want to see in district's top administrator.

The public forum was one of three held simultaneously, with more to follow tonight and Thursday. They are being coordinated by BWP & Associates, a superintendent search firm.

Bill Symons, who's leading the search team for BWP and led Tuesday night's meeting, said the opinions were pretty consistent with what they heard in meetings with students, teachers and business leaders.

He said feedback will help pinpoint as many as eight candidates they plan to introduce to the board in December. "We won't find the perfect person," he told the group. "They don't live on this planet."

The parents who turned out at Stratford, nearly half of whom are either on or are running for a School Board seat, said they want a superintendent who will keep residents informed and listen to their concerns.

"Right now, if I want to communicate something to the district, I have to drive to Moncks Corner a half-hour away and sit through the board meetings twice a month," said Cynthia Hudson of Goose Creek. "There's nobody who makes me feel like my opinion matters."

Parents also said because Berkeley County represents so many different types of people — rich and poor, black and white — the new superintendent needs to be able to reach out to all groups. All schools should be given the same opportunities, they said.

Symons said some 40 candidates have already applied for the position. He said they've already found one or two candidates who match what residents say they're looking for, but they're going to follow through the process to get as many quality candidates as possible.

The forums resume at 6:30 tonight at Hanahan High, Cross High and Cane Bay High. The last forum is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Goose Creek High.