By Ashley Bouwense
New Superintendent of Livingston Public Schools Christina Steffner’s biggest goal this upcoming school year is to focus on making sure students and teachers have a positive experience with technology and, based on her record at the Hunterdon Central Regional School District, her expertise will prove to be most beneficial to the Livingston community of learners.
Livingston’s Board of Education (BOE) hired Steffner March 2. Amongst many of the candidate’s factors that attracted the BOE, her experience in the areas of technology and teacher training stood out, according to BOE President Ron Spring.
Steffner, who holds a master’s in educational administration and bachelor’s in health and physical education, served as superintendent of Hunterdon Central Regional School District since 2011, and she previously served as principal of Hunterdon Central Regional School District.
As principal, Steffner was instrumental in infusing instructional technology in the classroom and creating a professional development model based on 21st century skills. Her work in technology integration and embedded professional development for teachers earned Hunterdon Central High School the title “Best Practice Model for High School Redesign,” one of two schools in New Jersey that were selected for this honor in 2010.
“[Livingston’s] one-to-one computing initiative will be a big focus this coming school year,” Steffner said, “as we make sure that students have a positive experience with technology and that teachers have the professional development and training to use technology in meaningful ways in the classroom.”
The Livingston BOE approved a one-to-one computing initiative for students in grade seven to 12. As described on the Livingston Public Schools website, “Our mission, ‘To provide effective technology resources and training to foster a community of academic risk-taking, innovation, collaboration and global awareness,’ is the driving force behind this initiative.”
Students from grade nine to 12 will receive a Microsoft Surface 3 laptop and students from grade seven to eight will be provided with a Lenovo Yoga 11e laptop; all students will be required to bring their devices to school every day, where they will learn to utilize the technology for a more efficient and effective educational experience.
For more information about the one-to-one computing initiative, visit www.livingston.org.
Steffner officially started July 1, but she has been working closely with Livingston’s interim superintendent, administrative teams and teachers since she was hired to get a feel for the school system and to ensure a smooth transition.
She explained, “As I talk with people, I ask two basic questions: What are the things we need to preserve and protect, and what do they perceive as gaps and the biggest challenges [the Livingston School District faces].”
Livingston’s nine public schools hold more than five thousand students compared to Hunterdon’s more than three thousand students. Although the Livingston District is a bigger undertaking, Steffner looks forward to working with faculty, staff and students to make the 2016-2017 school year a great one.
“My goal this coming school year is to include continuing a listening tour with our teaching staff, students, administrators and township leaders,” said Steffner. “I think schools need to be a reflection of their community.”