Along with a new computer lab and resource room, students at St. Isidore Elementary School will be also be greeted by a new face this fall — Helen Anne Livingston.
Ms. Livingston, St. Isidore’s new principal, brings with her more than 15 years’ experience and has worked as both an elementary school teacher and principal and, most recently, as superintendent of schools at Roosevelt Children’s Academy Charter School in Roosevelt.
Originally from Islip, Ms. Livingston graduated from SUNY/Cortland with degrees in elementary education and educational administration. She lived in upstate NY for 38 years before returning to Long Island to spend more time with family. She now resides in Riverhead and comes to St. Isidore at a time of change, as she is the first lay principal in the school’s history.
Q: What attracted you to St. Isidore?
A: There were several schools with openings but St. Isidore was the one I was really interested in. What attracted me was the mission of the school. They foster a strong sense of family, there’s a sense of personal responsibility toward God, self and neighbors, and it is very similar to what my personal philosophy is in both education and socially.
Q: What are your goals as principal?
A: My goals this year are to raise student achievement through curriculum alignment throughout the grade levels. With the teachers, I would like to build a solid junior high experience for our students, and we’re doing that using more technology and enhancing our junior high Spanish program.
Q: In your opinion, what are some of the challenges Catholic schools face?
A: I think one of the greatest challenges is keeping enrollment up. Enrollment here is still building, so I am not certain where it is going to end up. It is not unusual for a leadership change at a school to cause some uncertainty. I am confident, though, that when the community sees all the improvements made to the school and the enhancements to the curriculum here, they will like what they see.
Q: Why is faith important to you and how do you hope to make it an important part of your students’ lives?
A: My faith is what guides me daily. My faith has always been a part of my life, having gone to Catholic school for 12 years myself, and being involved in church activities brings meaning, a purpose to my life. What I do, what my teachers do, what we say: These are all important ways that we impart that knowledge of faith to our students, so they can mirror what it is they see us doing and saying.
Q: What is a fun fact about yourself your students might find interesting?
A: When I was in fourth grade through high school, I was a bugler with St. Mary’s Crusaders out in East Islip. I was the Nassau/Suffolk County champion and the Northeastern State champion for three years in a row. I then went on to become a trumpeter in college. I haven’t played in a while, but I can still play.