Parents and concerned citizens attended the Aiken County Public School Board's second public meeting to voice their input in the district's search for a superintendent.

Board Chairman Keith Liner said the school board was not looking for names, but for characteristics people would like to see in the district's next superintendent.

Participants were asked to vote on a series of questions using a website through their smartphones and laptops, with a brief open comment period after each vote.  

"This way, everyone can participate … we get a broad spectrum, a real time response of what you're thinking," Liner said.

At the meeting, Liner said students are the board's "No. 1 priority" and asked participants to vote how they thought would best benefit Aiken County students.

The majority of participants said they lived in the school district for longer than 10 years. Stakeholders were diverse, from parents with children in the system, former and current public school staff, and concerned citizens with no children or employment in the system.

The majority of voters said integrity was the most important personal characteristic in a future superintendent, and the best leadership style would be collaborative.

Some attendees raised concerns that there was no "other" or write-in option on the ballots. 

"I think the real asset in Aiken County – I think it's your teachers," said one attendee, pointing out an option not listed on a question inquiring about the district's most significant strength.

Some attendees expressed frustration over the transparency of the selection process, and confusion over how the data collected from the questions would be applied to the search.

"What's going to happen with this feedback afterwards?" asked another attendee. "Are you all actually looking for people? Do you have somebody in mind? Cause these are all qualities we would look for in any leader of any organization." 

Liner and school board members present said the data would be taken into account to guide their search – particularly in regards to candidates with similar job experiences and qualifications.

Kristina Rackley is a general assignment reporter with the Aiken Standard.