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LIVINGSTON, NJ — Dr. Matthew Block was officially voted in as the new Superintendent of Livingston Public Schools on Monday night after a lengthy search. The members of audience at Heritage Middle School, many of whom attended a meet-and-greet session with Block prior to the public Livingston Board of Education (LBOE), applauded their approval upon his appointment.
LBOE Vice President Ronnie Ferber Konner provided insight into the superintendent search and hiring process in addition to sharing the board’s enthusiasm for having Block at the helm of Livingston Public Schools after introducing him as the district’s top candidate last week.
“We searched for a visionary leader who could work collaboratively with our board of education, administrative team, talented teachers and staff, diverse student body and engaged parents and community,” said Konner. “We proudly appoint Dr. Matthew J. Block to lead our district and provide educational experiences for all Livingston students that will empower all to learn, create, contribute and grow.”
After being welcomed to the community during Monday’s meeting as well as during a lunch with Livingston students last week, Block vowed to “always have the students at the forefront of [his] decisions.”
“Not only the students I had the pleasure of having lunch with last Thursday, but the incredibly diverse, over 6,000 young people I have yet to meet but each day, when they arrive at school, entrust the educational team of teachers, support staff, supervisors and administrators in this district to guide them, care for them, inspire them and prepare them to be informed figures and lifelong learners,” said Block.
Block also praised the “inclusivity of Livingston’s mission,” which is to empower all to learn, create, contribute and grow.
“Empowering all; that’s certainly a worthy goal,” he said.
Click HERE to learn more about Block and why the board felt he was the top candidate.
In other administrative staffing news, Interim Superintendent James O’Neill announced that Robert Grosso will be vacating his role as assistant principal at Heritage Middle School in order to assume the role of District Supervisor of Health and Physical Education.
In his place, O’Neill announced that Andrew Espinoza will become the new vice principal at Heritage after fulfilling his year as interim principal at Mount Pleasant Middle School. O’Neill commended Espinoza, calling him a “true professional” who is willing to take in any task serving the district.
The interim superintendent also announced that Bronawyn O’Leary is vacating her role as assistant principal at the Livingston High School (LHS) to assume the role of principal at Mount Pleasant Middle School. O’Leary, who brings eight years of experience at LHS to the middle school, attended Monday’s meeting to express her gratitude toward the district and her excitement to begin working with the sixth graders.
“I think this is a great opportunity for me and for them,” she said. “It gives me hope that as they are transitioning to high school, all the knowledge that I have of the expectations and what we’re looking for will allow us to work well together and be able to transition beautifully to seventh and eighth grade and then to the high school. So thank you so very much for the opportunity.”
Last week, the LBOE announced that Marjorie Duffy would take over O’Leary’s role as vice principal of LHS going into the next school year.
On the digital front, Livingston resident Brian Bradley spoke during public comment to address a statute that permits the filming and recording of those attending public meetings, including minors.
"The purpose of my comment is to address an article from the West Essex Tribune, 'Board Member Questions Resident About Live Streaming Minors at Meeting,'” he said. “I'm just here to make something very clear: New Jersey statue (2A:156A-3,-4) allows sound-and video-recording devices in public meetings such as responsible restrictions such as advance notice."
His comment comes after the district announced a regulation entitled “Regulation #9125 Live Streaming” on May 13 that prohibits the filming and streaming of students during board meetings and district activities.
LBOE secretary Steve Robinson acknowledged Bradley’s comments, stating that the board checked with the district attorney and found that Bradley was legally correct.
"The only thing is we discourage it," said Robinson. "The fact of the matter is really we don't legally have a case, but again we stick with 'discourage' because the fact is there are things that have happened at events that we would rather not have on camera."
Robinson emphasized that his statement applies to a "public board meeting, not a school event."
The next LBOE meeting will be held on June 3.