LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston Board of Education (LBOE) announced on Monday that Dr. Matthew J. Block has been selected as the next Superintendent of Livingston Public Schools (LPS), pending an official vote for appointment during the next LBOE meeting on May 20.
Block currently works for Summit Public Schools as the district's Director of Human Resources and has previously held positions as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. According to a press release distributed by LPS, Block's current role in Summit has him "directly overseeing new teacher recruitment, hiring, professional development, new-teacher mentoring, employee relations and staff evaluation."
"We spent about 10 months during the search working together, trying to find the very best candidate who could really bring the community together," said LBOE member Pamela Chirls. "We found someone who has the integrity that we were hoping for and the intelligence we see immediately and also the ability to work with a very diverse community, and it's very clear he is the person to do that."
Block is scheduled to "visit the district to meet with various stakeholder groups" on Thursday. The public is also invited to attend a meet-and-greet event ahead of the May 20 vote from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Heritage Middle School.
“The group is delighted with our choice," said LBOE Vice President Ronnie Ferber Konner. “Every reference we checked said this was a great thing for Livingston. Comments that were shared described how well he works together with not only administrators, but teachers, parent and families, so we're looking forward to a long association together and we look forward to all of you having the opportunity to meet him.”
In another personnel update, the LBOE also announced the hiring of two new administrators: Michelle Cebula as the new principal of Collins Elementary School and Marjorie Duffy as the new vice principal of Livingston High School. Both were in attendance during Monday’s meeting Monday, where interim Superintendent James O'Neill shared his thoughts on the hiring.
“Michelle emerged as a person with substance and depth and someone who has a great affection for children," said O'Neill, who also praised her experience as an elementary teacher with an appreciation for being in the classroom as well as her current role as the Elementary Director of Curriculum in Summit.
In commenting on Duffy’s appointment, O'Neill applauded her "extensive experience" as a guidance counselor as well as a high school coach in addition to her involvement in “multiple committees, presentations and programs.”
"She's well prepared for this position as she was well prepared for the interview," said O'Neill. “She's excited as well as thoughtful about approaching her new position.”
O'Neill also announced that Robert Grosso, the current assistant principal at Heritage Middle School, will be promoted to the position of District Supervisor of Health and Physical Education.
"A current person has indicated to me that he will request to be transferred to the [assistant principal] position," O’Neill said of the vacancy Grosso will leave.
Moreover, O'Neill also provided an update on the search for a permanent principal at Riker Hill Elementary School, stating that the district has plans to meet with four candidates later this week.
“We hope to find the right person in that group,” he said. “I anticipate we will, but if we don't, we will keep going trying to get someone here as close to July 1 as possible."
If Block’s appointment as the new superintendent is approved during the next meeting, O’Neill’s tenure is slated to end on June 20.
Commenting on this eventuality, the district noted that O’Neill has played a critical role in finding his successor, assuaging concerns during the search and keeping the public up to date throughout the process.
“We were fortunate to be guided by Mr. O’Neill, a very experienced Superintendent,” said Chirls. “I don't think there's anyone who could say we weren't extremely thorough.”