Livingston Township will have a new superintendent for the 2019 school year.
On May 20, the Livingston Board of Education approved the appointment of Dr. Matthew Block as superintendent of Livingston Public Schools. Block, 45, brings with him to the district more than two decades of experience in education. He began his new role July 1.
“As I begin the process of making the Livingston Public Schools my new educational home, I am anxious to listen and to learn about our schools and community from students, educators, and parents,” Block said. “I look forward to partnering with the board, staff, and community as, together, we continue the important work of providing our students with highly engaging, innovative, and supportive learning experiences.”
He has held varied positions including teacher, assistant principal and principal. For the past eleven years, he served as the Summit Public Schools middle school principal and beginning in 2015, as the district’s director of human resources.
But, the Caldwell resident is ready for a new chapter in his life.
“I’m excited. I’ve already begun talking with people in the Livingston School District,” he said.
Block, who grew up in West Orange, said his passion for education stems from his mom, Jill Block, who was a nursery school teacher for 40 years and his time as a camp counselor. He found his passion for mentoring children while working at Fairview Lake YMCA Camp in Newton from 1991 to 2001. In fact, in 1997 he was the assistant director and director from 1998 to 2001.
“I think my mom definitely played a role,” he said. “She has 40 years of kids and families she connected with.”
He graduated from American University in 1996 with degrees in communications and history. Block earned both his Master of Arts degree in Teaching and his Master of Education degree in Administration and Supervision at Montclair State University. He continued his education at Caldwell University, where he obtained his Doctorate in K-12 Educational Leadership.
He spent the first six years of his career as a social studies teacher, first in West Orange and then in Westfield. In June 2005, he was hired as the assistant principal of the Edison Intermediate School in Westfield. Block was appointed as principal of East Hanover Middle School in August 2007. He was then hired by Summit Public Schools as principal of the Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School in July 2008, where he served until accepting his current position as the district’s director of human resources in June 2015.
In 2014, Dr. Block received the Nora Radest Award for Excellence in Education by the Summit Educational Foundation for his work in transforming the middle school experience in Summit.
He feels that his 20 years of experience have prepared him for his new role. He added it will be nice working so close to home.
“What I’m really going to miss about Summit are the people,” Block commented. “I feel confident going into this position that I’m ready to take it on. Even 20 years after leaving summer camps, it’s all about the kids for me.”
He recalled how when he was a child, he originally wanted to be a baker and president. But, he found his calling in education. Now with a wife, Miriam, and two kids, Harry, 13 and Shayna, 10, he is eager to join Livingston.
“I chose to in life what I wanted to do,” he said. “I’m really happy I got the chance to do that.”