The school was built in 1960 adjacent to an active Nike Missile Control Station in the Murray Hill section of Berkeley Heights. It is the sole secondary school for students from Berkeley Heights and Mountainside for grades 9-12, who attend the district's high school as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Mountainside School District.
The high school's namesake is William Livingston, the first Governor of New Jersey and a signatory of the United States Constitution. The Royal Stewart tartan of the Stewart Clan (of whom Livingston was a member) is a symbol of the school and the tartan's red and blue colors are the high school's colors.
In its 2013 report on "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast ranked the school 416th in the nation among participating public high schools and 35th among schools in New Jersey. In the 2011 "Ranking America's High Schools" issue by The Washington Post, the school was ranked 32nd in New Jersey and 1,112th nationwide. The school was ranked 416th in Newsweek's 2009 ranking of the top 1,500 high schools in the United States and was ranked 8th in New Jersey, with 2.293 AP tests taken in 2008 per graduating senior and 48% of all graduating seniors passing at least one AP exam; The school was ranked 707th nationwide in 2008. In Newsweek's 2007 rankings of the country's top 1,200 high schools, Governor Livingston High School was listed in 776th place, the 17th-highest ranked school in New Jersey. With the rankings calculated by Jay Mathews shifted to The Washington Post in 2011, the school was ranked 31st in New Jersey and 1,071st nationwide.
The school was the 36th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 339 schools statewide in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2014 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", using a new ranking methodology. The school had also been ranked 36th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 24th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed. The magazine ranked the school 15th in 2008 out of 316 schools. The school was ranked 21st in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state. Schooldigger.com ranked the school 26th out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (an increase of 48 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (95.4%) and language arts literacy (98.4%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).
In its listing of "America's Best High Schools 2016", Governor Livingston was ranked 192nd out of 500 best high schools in the country; it was ranked 30th among all high schools in New Jersey and 14th among non-magnet schools.
Union County Regional School District No. 1 was established in 1937, as the first regional high school district in New Jersey, for the students from the municipalities of Berkeley Heights, Clark, Garwood, Kenilworth, Mountainside, and Springfield. At that time, all students residing in the district attended Jonathan Dayton High School in Springfield. As the district began to grow, additional schools were built, and, in September 1960, Governor Livingston Regional High School opened its doors to 800 students from Berkeley Heights and Mountainside. The regional district's superintendent at the time was Dr. Warren Davis and Frederick Aho was the first principal of the high school.School principals
The "Highlander" was chosen the school's mascot by student body vote in 1960, combining the tradition of the town's first baseball team and the location of the school at the highest point in Union County. William Livingston, for whom the school is named, was of Scottish Highland descent.
In 1960, the yearbook adopted the name Claymore, which has continued to the present day.
Project Graduation, held the night of graduation and run entirely by volunteers, debuted in 1989, and provides a safe all-night celebration of each graduating class.
In 1997, the vote to de-regionalize the school district passed and the incoming freshmen in the fall of 1997 were the first to enter Governor Livingston High School, part of the Berkeley Heights School District.
Governor Livingston's academic program has been very highly rated, with the high school finishing in the top 40 secondary schools in New Jersey in a recent survey. The school offers a wide variety of classes including Advanced Placement (AP) courses for college credit.
The school has offers a wide variety of courses. There is a language requirement, in which a student must take at least two years of a non-English language. It is highly recommended to take four years of a single language. Languages Offered: Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, and American Sign Language.
Governor Livingston was the winner of the 1994, 1995, and 1996 New Jersey Science Olympiad Division C Championship, 1997 Division 5 National Champions for the Junior Engineering Technical Society's TEAMS competition and winners of the 1997 New Jersey State Science Bowl.
Governor Livingston has an extensive Deaf and Hard of Hearing program for students around Union County. The school's American Sign Language (ASL) and Junior National Association for the Deaf (JrNAD) clubs promote the cultural aspects of deafness that support a strong deaf peer group.
This program offers the following services to students who are deaf and hard of hearing:
• Self-contained, resource center, general education classes on all academic levels.
• Elective classes in a wide variety of subject areas.
• Shared program available with Union County Vocational Technical School.
• Teachers of the Deaf who instruct using Total Communication (voice and sign).
• Educational interpreters on staff.
• A speech and language specialist who is responsible for enhancing communication skills. Our program includes two sessions per week.
• Clubs, sports and after school activities in an inclusive setting.
• Support for students with cochlear implants.
• Interpreters are available for non-curricular activities including guidance appointments, assemblies and GLHS theatrical performances.
The JrNAD (Junior National Association for the Deaf) is a club consisting of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing students, that promotes leadership, socialization and community service. Under the guidance of the advisors, students not only plan trips and social events, but also engage in fundraising activities to benefit causes outside the organization. Past trips have included interpreted Broadway performances and special D/HH events across New Jersey.
American Sign Language is offered as a language, and students enrolled in ASL classes have the opportunity to interact with the deaf and hard of hearing students which enables the students to both practice and enhance their signing skills.
The Governor Livingston High School Highlanders compete in the Union County Interscholastic Athletic Conference, following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). With 790 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2015-16 school year as Central Jersey, Group II for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 498 to 750 students in that grade range. Before the NJSIAA's 2009 realignment, the school had competed in the Mountain Valley Conference, which included high schools in Essex County and Union County.
School colors are navy and scarlet. The school fields teams in varsity, junior varsity, and freshman football, boys and girls soccer, cross country, cheerleading, wrestling, basketball, indoor and outdoor track, baseball, softball, golf, swimming, tennis, field hockey, bowling, lacrosse, fencing and ice hockey.
The school operates as the lead agency for an ice hockey program with New Providence High School, under an agreement that expires at the end of the 2017-18 school year.
In 1965, the Governor Livingston Regional High School football team, coached by Jack Bicknell, won the school's first state championship, Group II title for a team that was undefeated, untied and nearly unscored on.
In 1977, the boys' varsity soccer team won the Group II title, the school's first state championship, defeating Lawrence High School. The team won the Group II title for a second time in 1979, defeating Freehold High School. In 1984, the team won the Group II state championship and was ranked by The Star-Ledger as high as number 4 in the state. In 1994, the Highlanders boys' soccer team won Mountain Valley Conference, Union County and the New Jersey Group II state championships with a 2-0 win over Hopewell Valley Central High School. The Star-Ledger ranked the team as high as number 3 in the State of New Jersey.
In 1985, the Highlander girls' varsity soccer team won the school's first girls' state championship, winning the Group II title against Delran High School in the tournament final.
In 1993, Ricky Ortega won the state championship in wrestling at 130 lbs.
In 2004, Mike Carmody won the state championship in the 800m.
In 2005, Anthony Abitante won the state championship in the pole vault.
In 2007, the women's field hockey team made the state playoffs for the first time in 30 years. The 2007 record was the best it had been in the past decade.
In 2006, the school finished installing a FieldTurf on its football field. It is used primarily for football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey.
The 2008-09 ice hockey team qualified for the 2009 UCIHL playoffs and finished second in the county. The team also qualified for the New Jersey Public High School state championship and went on to the school's first state playoff victory over Sparta High School with a score of 1-0.
The softball team won the 2007 Central, Group II state sectional championship with a string of shutout wins over Roselle Park High School (10-0), Shore Regional High School (6-0) and Delaware Valley Regional High School (1-0) in the tournament final. The team moved on to win the Group II state championship with wins over James Caldwell High School (4-2) and Pascack Hills High School (2-0) in the final game.
In 2008, the football team qualified for the playoffs and reached the state sectional final, where it lost to James Caldwell High School at Giants Stadium by a score of 22-7.
In 2008, the boys fencing team won the state title in the sabre; in 2015 the team won the foil team title. In 2009, the girls squad won sabre title and the overall team title; in 2012, the team won the foil state title.
In 1999, the Highlander baseball team won the Group II state championship. The program won its second title in 2011, winning the Group II state championship against the West Essex High School Knights by a score of 8-2. In 2015, the team won the Group II state championship with a 10-4 win in the tournament final against Bernards High School. In 2016, the baseball team captured their first ever Union County Tournament championship with a 3-2 win against Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School.
In 2011, the track team won their fourth state sectional championship in the previous seven years.
In 2013, the boys track team won their fifth state sectional championship.
The Governor Livingston Highlander Band (http://highlanderband.org/) was under the direction of Dan Kopcha since the early 1970s. However, in 2007 Kopcha announced his retirement and the band has subsequently been under the direction of Nicholas O'Sullivan, himself a Governor Livingston alumnus and former Highlander Band member. The band is extremely competitive and has been recognized with many awards. One of the earliest competitive wins was the 1972 award of the Governor's Cup at the Festival of States in St. Petersburg, Florida. The band competes against other bands associated with an organization called Tournament of Bands (TOB). TOB is organized into regions called "chapters", with the Highlander Band being in Chapter X. The championship competition is known as the Atlantic Coast Championship held each November. The Highlander Band has won many awards in TOB such as 28 chapter championships. Every four years, most recently in 2014, the band travels to Scotland to perform in Edinburgh.
The Governor Livingston Highlander Band is the winner of thirteen Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championships: 1980, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2012 (1980 Group 4, 1993 Group 2, others Group 1). Governor Livingston is also the winner of eight USSBA (Formally CMBC and currently US Bands) Championships: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997 (1993 and 1997 Group 2-Open, others Group 1-Open), and the Yamaha Cup in 2008 with the award for Military Pride.
The school has many clubs including foreign language clubs, drama, and various student outreach programs:Art Club
Athletic Honor Society
French Club/Honor Society
Future Business Leaders of America
Italian Club/Honor Society
Junior State of America
Latin Club/Honor Society
Math League Team
Mu Alpha Theta
National Honor Society
National Art Honor Society
Quill and Scroll
Sign Language & Jr. NAD Club
Spanish Honor Society
Turning Recreational Events in New Directions
Informal clubs and activities
The following clubs and activities are volunteer based. As a result, it is not guaranteed that the club is currently active.Anime Club
Mobile Applications Club
Sports Business Club
The Berkeley Heights local access cable channel (GLTV) Comcast: 34 / FiOS: 47 broadcasts from the Governor Livingston Television Studio; the station is run almost entirely by students with the help of a single adult advisor. The students, referred to as the GLTV Crew, shoot various events in the school such as sports, concerts, plays and events. Many shows are available on the station's website.
The government is a typical high school governing system. It consists of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and various representatives from each class. An executive board is elected from the senior class, again with titles of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The Student Council works to make changes in student policy and plan special events.
Core members of the school's administration are:Robert Nixon, Principal
Tara Oliveira, Assistant Principal
Lawrence Seid, Assistant Principal
Scott M. Gimple, television and comic book writer.
Brielle LaCosta (born 1984, class of 2003), Miss New Jersey International 2010, Miss New Jersey Galaxy 2011.
Peter Sagal (born 1965, class of 1983), playwright and host of NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!.
Jill Santoriello (Class of 1983), Broadway playwright and composer, musical A Tale of Two Cities.