Gill St. Bernard’s proudly named Helen Livingston as Director of Facilities and Operations. In her new role, Livingston will oversee the maintenance and upkeep of GSB’s spectacular 208-acre campus including all the academic buildings, barns, athletic facilities, sports fields, performing spaces, and landscaping. Along with her team, she will respond to everything from event set-up requests and managing contractors to repair requests and site inspections.
Managing a large property is not unfamiliar to the facilities and operations veteran, who began her career overseeing properties in the New Jersey court system before moving into the educational space at Rutgers University.
“Facilities maintenance is necessary in any organization, but it is especially important in the educational environment,” Livingston said. “Research has shown that having a good learning environment enhances learning. If the facilities aren’t clean, or there isn’t good lighting, or the buildings aren’t in good shape, students aren’t as likely to reach their full academic potential.”
To ensure an inviting space for children to thrive, Livingston takes a proactive approach to maintenance. Her philosophy is to anticipate the facilities upkeep and improvement needs—and to plan for them—before they become an emergency.
“I took a government course in college, and it made me realize that I wanted to be in public service,” Livingston explained. “Working in non-profit, and in schools in particular, is my way of giving back. I started down this path immediately upon graduation, and I haven’t looked back.”
Maintenance issues go along with any homeownership, and GSB owns buildings of all shapes, sizes, and historical merit. Despite careful planning, issues do arise from time to time such as unexpected leaks or plumbing surprises. The team often must respond quickly, but the stress of those moments is mitigated by the culture on campus.
“There is a strong sense of community at GSB,” Livingston said. “Everyone is kind and supportive and, of course, the farm is lovely. I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place to work.”
Livingston earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Stockton University and a Master of Public Administration from Seton Hall University. served on the Alumni Board of Directors at Seton Hall University and on the Morris County Commissions on Human Relations and Drugs and Alcohol. This fall, she will be on the ballot to serve her community as a Councilwoman on the town council.