LIVINGSTON, NJ - It was a momentous night for Livingston Public Schools, as the Board of Education officially introduced Dr. John Alfieri as the next district Superintendent. Alfieri, who is currently Superintendent of Schools in Vernon Township, will replace retiring Superintendent Dr. Brad Draeger.
Board members were effusive in their praise for Alfieri's credentials and history. President Ronnie Spring described Alfieri as an "innovative and collaborative instructional leader" with a commitment to "ensuring the success of all students." Dr. David Jasin echoed Spring's sentiments, noting that Alfieri has a history of developing "significant" programs.
"This was an interesting process for us," Leslie Winograd said, noting that the current board had never conducted such a search before."[Appointing a Superintendent] is the most difficult and important thing a board can do. You are exactly what we are looking for," she said in reference to Alfieri.
For his part, Alfieri emphasized his respect and deference to the tradition and history of Livingston Public Schools. "Earning your trust is not something I take lightly," he said. "I plan to earn your trust not just through words, but action. My first 100 days will be 100 days of listening and learning and working together."
Alfieri noted that his site visit was an integral part of his decision making process. He said that he felt extremely welcomed and that the visit also confirmed his belief that the Livingston "family" is wholeheartedly dedicated to its core mission.
Workshop items up for discussion included a review of the district's Code of Conduct. Assistant Superintendent Lawrence Russell said that the latest changes were "minor" in comparison to previous years, with many of the wording changes occurring for the sake of clarity. For instance, the requirement that students be drug and alcohol free 24 hours of the day and seven days of the week was excised from the text. Russell noted that the revised version dealing with alcohol and substance abuse more accurately reflects the enforcement capabilities of the district.
The district's absence and tardy policy was a source of extended discussion, particularly with regards to student participation in extracurricular activities when an absence or tardy has been incurred. For partial absences with a reasonable excuse - such as a doctor's appointment or religious observance - a student must attend school for a total of four hours and 30 minutes on the day they wish to participate in an extracurricular. LHS principal Mark Stern noted that the district's previous policies have been inconsistent with competing schools. Stern said that while the new policies are still stricter than those of other schools in the Super Essex Conference (of which Livingston is a member) and across the state, more flexibility will be allowed to account for students' circumstances.
The board also took time to recognize outstanding student achievement in foreign language testing. Of the 155 Livingston High School students who took the National Spanish Exam, 146 were recognized for excellence. The medal distribution for LHS students was 30 gold medal winners (95th percentile or higher), 44 silver medal winners (85th to 94th percentile) and 32 bronze medal winners (75th to 84th percentile). Forty LHS students received Honorable Mention status. Thirteen LHS students were recognized for excellence in the Le Grand Councours, the French National Exam.