I had a great day in the “office” today when I had the chance to slip away from behind my desk to the media center at Riker Hill Elementary School. A class of first graders was waiting to hear a story about my favorite dog, the pug, and a counting book that perfectly blended my love of reading with my first love of math. The students were attentive and respectful, and honestly, even cuter than the pug puppies in the story. I look forward to spending more time in classrooms as I continue to settle into my job as Superintendent of Livingston Public Schools. The eyes of the students, coupled with the enthusiasm in an elementary school, makes my job one of the very best in the world.
We had a great time on the field at Livingston High School on Thursday afternoon, November 14, presenting the sectional trophy to the LHS Girls Varsity Soccer team.
Livingston defeated my hometown of Randolph, so I was rooting from both sides of the field with my daughter, who came after school to enjoy the game with me.
Livingston won the NJSIAA Group IV Section I Championship match by a score of 1-0 – just the second sectional championship in girl’s soccer in the history of Livingston High School. The Lancers advance to the NJSIAA Group IV semifinal match at 5 p.m. Tuesday, November 19, where they will be playing Bridgewater High School.
With another win, Livingston would advance to the state championships – and a date in the Group IV final.
We’re so proud of all the fall teams and the student-athletes who perform at such a high level in this sports-enthused community. Congratulations to all. See the game story by clicking here.
The Livingston Board of Education on Monday, October 28, accepted the resignation of Mr. Lawrence Russell, who served Livingston as the Assistant Superintendent for Student Services for the past two and a half years. We wish Larry well in all of his future endeavors.
We are very fortunate to have appointed Barbara Linkenheimer as the Interim Assistant Superintendent of Student Services. She will serve as an Interim as the school District focuses on the priorities of the Special Education department and determines the specific qualifications of the person we will seek to hire to fill the Assistant Superintendent position going forward.
Ms. Linkenheimer comes to Livingston with more than 35 years in education, the past 27 of which have been spent in district administration. She will be working closely with the Supervisors of Student Services, Terry Santora and Todd Mitchell, in the day-to-day administration of the special education department.
In November, we will welcome Matthew R. DeLaRosa, who was hired as Director of School Safety, Energy Management and Strategic Construction Planning and Operations.
His role will include strategic planning and safe operations of all buildings within the school District. His job responsibilities encompass school safety, including developing and presenting security training; preparing an energy management plan; and working with the District’s Manager of Building and Grounds on construction planning and operations.
Mr. DeLaRosa will begin his role with the task of a full and complete safety audit of every school and facility within LPS. He will also be tasked with implementing a comprehensive visitor management system.
This week we launched a new look for our Livingston Board of Education meetings. The change was made to provide maximum transparency and communication in and amongst the administrative team and your elected officials. At Monday’s meeting we held our first BOE work Session, where we had true discussion in full public view.
It is our hope that the Work Session will have provided the BOE with more complete information and an opportunity to discuss items, seek public input, and have time to allow the motions to resonate in their minds. This additional time will also allow for them to research and/or ask additional questions. The Voting Meeting in October will be 7 p.m. on Monday, October 28 at Livingston High School.
Topics covered during our first Work Session included updates included a range of issues from the Class of 2014 transcripts, Violence and Vandalism and HIB Report to textbooks and field trips.
I delivered a brief progress report describing my experiences and impressions in my early weeks as Superintendent of Livingston Public Schools. It comes down to three words. People, people, people. That's what comes to mind when I think Livingston. Parents who send their kids to school ready to learn, students who come to school each day with a positive spirit and a professional staff that cares so much about our kids.(See the Alternative Press coverage of the meeting by clicking here).
What’s not changing at our meetings is the opportunity for public input. There will be two times at each meeting for the public to have input, just as you do now, and at the same points in the meetings.
We hope you support and appreciate our collective thoughts on our new structure.
The process and procedural aspects of a public school district should be as transparent as possible. We hope that this change is another step in that direction for the Livingston Public Schools.
If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please let me know. What you are thinking matters to us all.
As I write this message to you, I realize the first month of school has quickly moved from the present to the past. So far, it has been an amazing journey assimilating into this outstanding learning community.
As I absorb this new role, in this new place, there is so much to learn. However, it has become apparent that one thing sets LPS apart from the rest: Its people -- students, staff, parents, community members -- everyone who calls this “house” a “home.” And, therein lies the difference between LPS and most places. There is a very special and extremely significant intangible quality to this school’s connection to the greater community. In other places I have been, the schools are one of a bunch of “buildings in town;” however, LPS is at the heart of this amazing community, it is the nucleus of the action.
I have often stated that LPS exists for its students. Therefore, our guiding instructional principles will focus upon the reality that all students are unique. In a responsive classroom, teaching is focused upon individual instruction with the goals of student growth and engagement. Thus, this pedagogical method is not a strategy to be used from time to time, not an approach in a “bag of tricks,” but rather, a belief system about teaching and learning. Teachers will use the things that students are good at as a springboard to strengthen those areas where they need reinforcement. The focus is not on the “work” but rather on the learning itself. And, supporting learning is everyone’s primary focal point.
LPS parents support the schools to, in turn, support their children. We ask that you continue to grow with us and let us know what you think. We appreciate your feedback and try hard to work as a true partnership between home and school.