Carol Livingston, GATE (gifted and talented education) teacher at J.L. Bowler and Virgin Valley Elementary Schools, is retiring at the end of this school year. She leaves behind a legacy of fifty years in teaching.
Her career began in 1964 at Lincoln Elementary School which is located in Great Falls, Montana. Her first class was a sixth grade with 36 students. There were no breaks in the school day. She had duty before and after school as well as during lunch. She taught her own art, music, and P.E. That’s just the way it was for teachers in those days.
Always a strong National Education Association member, Mrs. Livingston was the leader of the picket captains during a teacher strike in Montana in the 1970’s. The victory brought teachers one-half hour of prep time during the school day.
When Carol’s husband, Jerry, retired from the Montana Highway Department, they decided to head for warmer weather and found the Southwest. In 1989 they made the move. Clark County School District had been recruiting for teachers in Missoula. The Livingstons first lived in St. George. Carol was given a position at Ute V. Perkins in Moapa Valley, which provided a challenging daily commute. They found a lovely home in Mesquite and never looked back.
Mrs. Livingston has worked at all four elementary schools which are found in the Virgin Valley. Although most of her work has been as a GATE teacher, she also taught second grade at J.L. Bowler.
Her students rank her at the top of their favorite teachers. Spencer Planck, who is now a pre-med student, recalls that he “always looked forward to GATE because Mrs. Livingston made the studies so interesting.” Alex Brotherson, also now in college working towards a career in business, recalls that Mrs. Livingston “made learning fun and fascinating.” These sentiments are echoed by all of Mrs. Livingston’s students.
Mrs. Livingston has had a distinguished career. She was among the first nine teachers in Clark County to receive the highest honor in the teacher profession when she became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2000. She and her colleagues were recognized at the Nevada Legislature and guests at a luncheon hosted by then governor, Kenny Guinn. When teaching in Montana, Mrs. Livingston was among 70 teachers in Montana that were selected to attend a science workshop at the jet propulsion lab in Pasadena, California. While there the teachers learned about space and studied Voyager II’s encounter with Saturn. She met Carl Sagan and Ray Bradbury. Mrs. Livingston is a Fulbright Memorial Scholar and with that honor came a trip to Japan during which she visited many Japanese schools. She is lifetime member of the National Education Association and has been actively participating in association matters for all of her 50 years in education.
GATE classes have been stimulating for her students. For many years, Carol has included lessons on the stock market with her students. She was recently honored because her students made more money on their portfolios than any other student investors in the state of Nevada. The GATE students can often be seen out Geo-cashing with their GPS units. Each year Carol brings a complete Star Lab from Las Vegas and sets it up at a school. The children crawl through a tunnel and find themselves in a planetarium. These are the educational experiences that last a lifetime.
Carol and Jerry have been married for nearly 50 years. They are the proud parents of two sons, Riley and Shane. Both sons have had successful careers. Shane is in the medical field and Riley is the founder of the Zip Fizz Corporation. One of Carol and Jerry’s favorite pastimes is visiting grandchildren who live in Las Vegas. The grandparents are avid soccer fans.
Carol holds an EDS (Educational Specialist) degree from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. She earned a masters degree in English from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas. Her bachelor’s degree came from Kansas State and she fiercely supports the athletic success of the Wildcats (especially over the Jayhawks).
Looking back and musing over her career, Carol says, “Teaching is a lot like fishing. Sometimes they bite, and sometimes they don’t!” She adds that “teachers need to instill in students the necessity of being lifelong learners”. Mrs. Livingston’s future will include more travel, beginning this summer when she will be cruising down the Danube River. She is looking forward to more time for golf and working out. She is considering getting back into tennis. Although she certainly deserves to move on, there is no doubt that the field of education is losing one of its finest and most dedicated teachers. Mrs. Livingston is exactly the kind of teacher every parent wants for his or her child.