LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Haley Livingston

Position: GNETS Director
School: Harrell Learning Center
School District: Okefenokee RESA
City, State: Waycross, GA

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Music that Describes Haley

Haley Livingston's nominator would like to remain anonymous.

Having been born a twin to her sister with cerebral palsy, Ms. Livingston naturally learned to view what others said were disabilities as "different abilities." Anything that others said was impossible for her sister to do, Ms. Livingston became determined to prove differently. Her strong vision for her sister to experience the best life possible, despite her different abilities, resulted in her parents’ raised eyebrows as they watched both of their daughters enjoying slumber parties, exploring the school hallways, sailing in a homemade raft, camping in the far away corners of their backyard, and even jet skiing in the Gulf of Mexico. As a child, Ms. Livingston refused to allow her sister's life experiences to be limited by disabilities. Instead, her vision of “what can be” became the lens through which she views life.

Her ability to view circumstances through the lens of “what can be” has been transformational in lives around her, countless times over. One could easily argue that she has a “gold-digging” attitude; she digs up the gold in others and allows them to shine on their own. Throughout her career as an educator, she has proven to have a keen ability to spot a glimmer in the roughest, toughest places.

Even as a young educator and a new special education department leader in an extremely high poverty school, Ms. Livingston endeavored to make her program shine. She was at home in her heart working with students with disabilities. She focused on the abilities she recognized in each student served in her program and set out to help them understand that their disabilities were not limitations, but different abilities.

As the leader of her department, Ms. Livingston understood that she was only as strong as her team.  She shared her vision for developing a strong program that really made a difference in the lives of the students served through it by launching the acronym P.R.I.D.E., which stands for Perseverance, Readiness, Individuality, Determination, and Excellence, as the program’s brand. She easily modeled these characteristics for her students and colleagues. Through her vision that students with all levels of ability could benefit from interacting with each other for daily instruction, Ms. Livingston implemented a classroom model in which gifted and special education students were served together in a co-teaching classroom. As a result, many of the students served through this program were recognized as student leaders in the school, receiving academic honors awards, participating in National Elementary Honor Society, and being enrolled dually in the gifted education program.

Currently, as the director of a school within the Georgia Network of Educational and Therapeutic Supports (GNETS), Ms. Livingston continues to help transform the lives of others through her vision of what can be. Under her leadership, her school has consistently ranked in the top two of all GNETS schools in the state. Since becoming the director, many students at her school have gained experiences that they never had before, such as walking across a stage to accept academic honors awards, participating in a talent show, participating in an oratorical competition within the community, and in academic competitions with peers outside of their school. Under her leadership, her school was also awarded a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) grant, which has allowed Ms. Livingston to further her vision for students to learn technology skills through hands-on learning activities in the new technology lab established this year.

Additionally, she has transformed the leadership of her school by implementing a shared leadership approach. A top priority is to ensure that her staff and parents know that they have a voice and that decisions being made are weighed with integrity and with ethical measures.

Ms. Livingston understands that a good team becomes great when each member can appreciate what the other person brings to the team. She makes it a priority to find the gold in each teacher and help them to shine, regardless of whether they are in year one or year 25. New teachers are valued for their fresh ideas and perspectives, while veteran teachers are valued for the expertise gained through their years in the trenches. She demonstrates daily that she believes that leadership is not about one person’s success, but about helping everyone on board to recognize their own different abilities, and to help them continue to transform as individuals into the very best teacher, student, or parent they can be.

Comments (43)

Randy Dowling Posted over a year ago

Haley learned at an early age of the challenges that children and adults face , who have disabilities.Haley experienced this firsthand growing up with her twin sister , Heather , who has cerebral palsy . Haley’s loving , caring , compassionate personality for her sister and others like her , has helped define the person and leader she is today. Haley’s passion to make a difference in her students lives and others is a wonderful trait.She encourages others with the positive “ we can do “ attitude and anything is possible.Haley is a wonderful daughter, mother and teacher. Haley has always been a “Life Changer “ in my eyes and heart, Love Daddy.

Ashton C's mom Posted over a year ago

Ashton wants you to know he loves you very much and you are the greatest in the world to him. He wants you to have the award above all others.

Jadia Rozier Posted over a year ago

Ms. Livingston is a great Principle. She gives me nice complements every day. She's a good & nice person.

Kristen Conrey Posted over a year ago

Ms. Livingston, is an Inspiration to us. As a mother to one of her students, I am proud of what she and her staff have done for my son. Since her first day here, She has brought a change to the school that has been and Continues to be... Safe, uplifting, encouraging, understanding, compassionate, inclusive and stablizing. Her strength and determination is Incredible to say the least. She's just an Amazing Soul.

Harley Brown Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Livingston truly is a Life Changer!! She always has a smile on her face and her arms open wide to anyone, anytime, with any situation. Though I have only known her for a short time, I can say without a doubt that she deserves this award by far. She is a great leader and a wonderful person to work for/with. From the HLC Elementary Team....We LOVE and appreciate you Mrs. Livingston. Thank you for all that you do for our school. #HLCROCKS

Amanda Sloan Posted over a year ago

I believe Haley deserves the Life Changer of the Year award. She is a wonderful role model for students. Growing up as her younger cousin, I've always looked up to Haley. She gives great advice and encourages people to make good decisions and to do their best. I'm very thankful for her influence in my life, and I'm so proud that she was nominated for this award!

Alison Posted over a year ago

Haley is a wonderful administrator! She is always upbeat, positive, and willing to help our students thrive. Congratulations, Haley!

Lillie Livingston 10 years old Posted over a year ago

My mom Haley Livingston is not only my mom she is my Life Changer! For example: she is always inspiring. She always makes me feel better, but that's not all. She's also caring. She cares for most everyone I know. There's not one situation where if someone needed help she wouldn't help them. I love her with all of my heart and she loves her whole family - including me - with all of her heart.

Donna Ryan Posted over a year ago

Ms. Livingston is an exceptional educator. She is personal and professional. The concept of "can't" is never left on the table. Her consistent CAN do attitude makes others around her start with, "How CAN we...?" - rather than, "We can't..." We thank our lucky stars every day that Ms. Livingston chooses to bless our region with her talents. She is a true gem!

Jenna Warren Posted over a year ago

Haley Livingston is a precious friend and soul! She has a positive impact on any person she meets...her students included! She is compassionate and kind, she is passionate about teaching and helping others and it shows...without a single doubt. She is the definition of a life changer. Although there are many good candidates, Haley is by far the most deserving!

Jody Sloan Posted over a year ago

I believe that this award could find no better person to be bestowed upon than Haley. As her uncle, I've known her for more than 30 years, watching her grow from a little girl, with all kinds of energy and always full of questions, into a wonderful mother to her two girls, a faithful wife and partner to her husband, and a devoted sister to Heather, whom if she could tell you with words how she feels about Haley, I believe it would make you weep. They have a very special bond. Haley is a dedicated educator who has always had a passion for her students. I’ve watched her become a great leader who inspires and encourages others. One who is willing to tackle the big problems, but does so with a heart that breaks down all barriers. Haley has been an inspiration to my two daughters and my son, as well as to me. She listens, she encourages, and she loves. These are traits the scriptures describe that show us the manner in which we are to live life and also promises a life that is full of honor. Yes, I believe the Life Changer of the Year award would find no greater recipient than Haley Livingston.

Sinletha Nicely Posted over a year ago

Mrs.Livingston is a great person she is a great one when i was pregnant she was one of the people that told me don't quit school don't give up on what you believe in so them words really meant a lot to me and really mad me want to go hard and be strong.She makes my day shes the happiest person you could ever meet.You would never know when shes going through something cause she keep a smile on her face and her head held high no matter what she never shows weakness.

Xavion Odums Posted over a year ago

Whenever she could she would help me and now I have opened up and I talk to more people. She deserve this because she makes this school special. She makes everyones day brighter. She is our principal adn we dont want that to change anytime soon.

Pamela Majdi Posted over a year ago

If anyone deserves the recognition of Life Changer of the Year, it is Haley Livingston. She is the embodiment of dedication and encouragement to all of us here at HLC. Mrs. Livingston saturates the atmosphere of HLC with warmth and love, while still maintaining an expectation of excellence. The students have no doubt that she cares for them. All of the staff are blessed to have her, as well, and we know that her door is always open to us. I am thankful to have met her and to be able to work with her to provide a quality educational experience for our students.

Jonathon Cobb Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Livingston deserves this, because she is one of the best people at what she does. And in a desperate time of need, she turned one of the worst schools (Ruskin Elementary) into the best year of my life as my kindergarten teacher. And every time I went to different schools within the Ware County districts, Mrs. Livingston was always right by my side making sure that I always did my best. Mrs. Livingston has always an inspiration for me, my family, and many others. If you are reading this, Mrs. Livingston, you are one of the BEST people I have ever known, and hopefully when he comes to the Harrell Learning Center, David too. God bless you, Mrs. Livingston!

Pearson E. Dial Posted over a year ago

PS Your the best teacher I the hole GNETS center and the world you rock.

James Solomon Posted over a year ago

She has been a great help to me my whole life.

Ashley Posted over a year ago

Haley has definitely been a life changer in my life. As a younger cousin, I have always looked up to her as my role model, an older sister, someone I could confide in, and someone who I would always strive to impress. I saw her as perfect and I tried to live up to that. She has always been there for me. After reading the overview for what this nomination and award represent, I'm reassured that Haley is more than deserving of this award. The Mission: Keeping our promises. The Vision: To bring peace of mind to everyone we touch. The Values: Do Good. Be Good. Make Good. She is no doubt the epitome of these qualities. I'm so very proud to call her my family!

Damien T Baltzer Posted over a year ago

I think she will be perfect for getting this award. she done a lot for the school. she has made my life better at this school just by being herself. she is kind,caring,and the best directer the school has ever had and i am glad to be a student here. i will miss this school badly when i graduate.

Debbie White Posted over a year ago

My daughter Haley has been a Life Changer since day one not just the last few years. Even when she was a little thing, her sister would cry and Haley would see about her. She would pick her head up look at her and try to help make her feel better. Haley has always had a purpose not just for herself but always for others - that's just the way God made her. She never wanted to take toys to show and tell. She always wanted to take her sister, Heather. She was always proud to show other people that she could take care of her and make her smile. Haley also had a heart for other children similar to Heather. When we would take Heather to her doctor appointments, she would make her way around the waiting room to talk to the other kids. She would lift their heads back up on their headrests, wipe their mouths, and would be silly just to make them laugh and smile. We never had to tell her to be kind or how to treat others. Things like this always came natural to her. Now that she is grown and has a family of her own, she still makes time for me and Heather. She takes Heather to her house for the weekend and watch movies and tell secrets like they always have. When I am sick she makes sure Heather is taken care of and I get what I need. Her sister has always been her priority. When it was time for her to graduate from college she didn't walk with her class because it was more important to be at the hospital day and night with Heather. On her wedding day it wasn't just about Haley and Scott. It was about Heather too. Haley wouldn't settle for anything less than Heather having her own wedding dress and rolling down the aisle as her maid of honor. Scott and Haley presented Heather with her own ring and both sealed it by kissing her on the cheek. A proud day full of tears for this mama. You see even on the most important days of her life, it was never really about her...she wanted her sister to have all the experiences too. She will tell you...that no one comes before her 1st baby...her sister. I'm proud of my baby. I'm proud not just because of what she accomplishes in life, but for the HEART she has...gifted with at birth. If she could only speak the words, Heather would say... My HaiHai is the wind beneath my wings. She's my voice, my legs, my arms, my eyes, my heart. She's my dance partner and the one I give my biggest smile! She's the person who makes my world spin. She makes me feel better when I'm sick just by snuggling up in my bed. I always need my HaiHai and I love her. She's my LIFE CHANGER.

Marlee Rayne Livingston 8 years old Posted over a year ago

My mama is a Director wich is kind of like a Principal because she takes care of a whole school. My mama treats everybody the same at her school. She is so nice to teachers and studets. She loves my Ant Heather the most in the hole wide world. I think my Mama is the best Director in hole entiyer state.

Mary Crews Ranirez Posted over a year ago

I agree 100% with everything Mrs.Livingston implements and is about. She has transformed HLC from a school others looked upon as the "school for the bad kids" to a school that cares and helps kids with emotional support needs succeed and become productive members of society. Since being at HLC my son has really blossomed into the child I knew he was deep down inside. All of the kids at HLC love Mrs.Livingston and know that she loves them too! She definitely deserves this award a million times over!! Love, Ashton's mom

Tracy Thompson Posted over a year ago

Haley Livingston is an absolute Angel. She is an awesome boss, mother, wife and friend. She is very supportive of her staff. And is always there to listen to you and lend a helping hand when needed. She has helped to change many students and staffs lives with her constant encouragement and love. Including my own. I would not be the person that I am today with out her believing in me and constant encouragement. She has completely changed my life and I will forever be grateful. She is always dedicated to her students and her door is always open to whom ever needs to see her. She is never to busy for you. She truly is a life changer.

Sherry Ritchie Posted over a year ago

Please select Haley Livingston for LifeChanger of the Year.

Adr Posted over a year ago

Ms. Livingston deserves this acknowledgment. Her kind heart shines, not just in the education field, but to everyone she meets. This woman is a mentor and inspiration to all, young and old. Adult and child. She is a true leader and a kind person in general.

Madisyn kent Posted over a year ago

So proud of you aunt Hai hai??

Christen Maxwell Posted over a year ago

Every word is absolutely true about Haley! She always goes above and beyond for the students and for her team! I had the pleasure to work with her about 8 years. I miss her terribly! Haley will encourage and support you while she inspires you to be a better person. I am so very thankful to have met her, to have worked with her, and to be her friend! Way to go, Haley!!

Rick Posted over a year ago

What she does to take help the kids and teachers and to take care of her family is more than most people think about doing. She deserves this award if anybody does.

Lori Sloan Posted over a year ago

Through the years, I've had the privilege of watching my niece use her gifts of encouragement, love, and leadership to influence the lives of so many people. From a very early age, these gifts became evident in the way she expressed her deep love, care, and concern for her twin sister, Heather, who has cerebral palsy. Haley is a wonderful mother and a woman of great faith who puts her heart and soul into everything she sets out to accomplish. She demonstrates her belief that every student deserves encouragement and the opportunity to learn and succeed to the best of their ability. Haley has proven herself to be a great leader. Her ability to lead and encourage with grace, and to motivate others to do their very best is amazing. I am very thankful and proud to be her aunt!

Angie Simmons Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Haley! Well deserved nomination for a devoted and wonderful person.

Maryann Eiland Posted over a year ago

Haley was my supervisor for 4 years. Her love and support for her students and staff were exceptional!She has shaped the lives of many and deserves this recognition!

Kira Johnson Posted over a year ago

I have been best friends with Haley 20-plus years, and cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor. She has always went above & beyond for her students & her school. She has always been a joy to be around & this spills over into her students & co-workers. Proud that she has received this nomination!

Jennifer Cox Posted over a year ago

To know her, is to be blessed. The past few years, I have gained an angel. Haley puts her all into whatever she does. She has the biggest heart for her school and students. She is a beautiful, loving, inspiring, and honest friend, Through all her roles in life, whether it be an educator, parent, spouse, daughter, sibling, or friend she puts forth 100%. She has and will continue to positively impact the world. She is the perfect recipient of this award.

Renee Posted over a year ago

I have known Haley for about 10 years. For the majority of that time we worked together at one of our elementary schools. She was the Special Education coordinator there. She has always been kind and compassionate to her students. And has been school favorite with her bright beautiful smile. Upon leaving Ruskin she took the directorship of the GNETS school in our district where she has worked hard to turn the reputation of the school and the students around. I believe she is succeeding. To honor her and her school with this award would not doubt be the right choice and would only raise the bar for future recipients.

Rhonda Robbins Posted over a year ago

I have known Haley Livingston for many years. I have worked with her when she was a teacher and an administrator. It is a privilege to work with someone with a passion for students and staff. She has transformed her school into one of the top GNETS centers in the state. She is a leader who is always looking for ways to better herself, her staff, and her students. She is always willing to share her knowledge and expertise.

Renee Posted over a year ago

I have known Haley for about 10 years. For the majority of that time we worked together at one of our elementary schools. She was the Special Education coordinator there. She has always been kind and compassionate to her students. And has been school favorite with her bright beautiful smile. Upon leaving Ruskin she took the directorship of the GNETS school in our district where she has worked hard to turn the reputation of the school and the students around. I believe she is succeeding. To honor her and her school with this award would not doubt be the right choice and would only raise the bar for future recipients.

Her Biggest Fan!! (Parent and community member) Posted over a year ago

WooHoo! Haley! Yes! Yes! Yes! This person so deserves this award! She is a true life changer. Everybody is important to her. She treats everyone she meets like they are the most important person in the world. Even though she isn't all about the "feel good" stuff all of the time...she always builds up and never tears down! The world needs more people like Haley!

Proud Parent Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Livingston is very deserving of this nomination. She has impacted my daughter's life greatly. She never let her down. She always encouraged her to believe in herself and not give up. Whenshe struggled in school Mrs. Livingston would give her one of her famous peptalks! and turn her around. We will always remember her and her loving ways. She never judges kids on what they got or what they look like. She loves them for who they are inside.

Nelson Gomez III Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Livingston has changed my life in so many ways. Before I met Mrs. Livingston I was going through a rough time with trusting people, and with my anger against my mother. She steped in and went above and beyond to build a relationship with me and get to know me. Alread that was more than anyone has ever done for me. Because of her support through out my highs and lows is the reason why I am able to build trust with the right people. She is also the reason why i'm able to focus on my goals rather than getting distracted by things around me. She gave me the support and attention that a mother gives to her child, and that was something that I had always wanted but never had.

Anonymous Posted over a year ago

100% accurate!

Melynda solomon Posted over a year ago

She has been my sons light and spirit since he was in kendergradon ( james solomon) he has always been an outcast to his peers and former teachers who didnt understand him and labeled him as a problem child she never gave up on him and we fault for years and working on his grades he joined her school and now is graduating with grades i thought were impossiable but with her protestant and love for theses kids i have watched my son and his peers grow into amazing young adults and have accomplished everything they daughted in them selves there is nothing greater to watch then the smiles and confindents on their faces thank you for everything you do ms livingston

Keri Smith Posted over a year ago

This is spot on for Haley!! I worked with her for 4 years and she always went above and beyond for her students and her department!

Libby Johnson Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Haley Livingston is a wonderful person. I cannot think of anyone that deserves this award more than she does. She is such a positive and upbeat person. She finds the good in everyone she comes into contact with. She brings out the best in everyone and makes you feel good about yourself and your abilities. She truly loves these kids and makes sure they know they are important, worthy of all life has to offer and appreciated for all their efforts, no matter how large or how small. She has dedicated her life to bettering the lives of all around her. She would be the perfect recipient of this award.