Following five decades of extraordinary service and teaching as a member of the St. Mark’s faculty, Mary Ann Livengood plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2021-2022 school year. Since joining the St. Mark’s faculty in the fall of 1972, Mary Ann has not only set an incredibly high standard of excellence, but also has been an inspiring role model and passionate advocate of music, singing, and artistic expression.
As Mrs. Livengood has been known to frequently say, “We are a singing School!” And indeed we are, thanks in large measure to the foundational lessons that she instills in our youngest boys, helping them develop an appreciation for the importance of lifting their voices alongside others. She has touched the lives of thousands of Marksmen and inspired generations of boys to explore their creative talents and enjoy the beauty of music and singing.
“Mary Ann Livengood has left an indelible mark on our School and established a profound legacy that celebrates the importance of music in our daily lives,” said David W. Dini, Eugene McDermott Headmaster. “From teaching first graders the 'Alma Mater' and 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' to helping guide the St. Mark’s Choir program to international acclaim, Mary Ann brings a zest for life and a love of learning that helps boys become their best selves.”
An educator through and through who has dedicated her life and her career to St. Mark’s, Mary Ann joined the faculty immediately after earning her bachelor’s degree in music at SMU. She later went on to earn a master’s degree in music while continuing to expand her responsibilities and impact with Marksmen in and out of the classroom. In addition to her principal role teaching music in the Lower School, she quickly assumed many other important roles across the campus and became actively engaged in student life.
One of the unexpected dividends of joining the St. Mark’s family was that she met her future husband, Jim Livengood, who served as the School’s Choirmaster and Organist for more than 35 years until his passing in 2004. Together, they had two daughters and worked in close partnership to elevate the St. Mark’s choral program to the highest international standards, incorporating the disciplined training designed by the Royal School of Church Music in England. Together, they established a tradition of international travel with the Choir, beginning with biannual tours of England to sing in some of the world’s most prominent cathedrals.
A consummate teacher and dedicated professional, Mary Ann has made her impact felt on every corner of the St. Mark’s campus and community. From Chapel services and musical performances to Lower School drama productions and so much more, her love for the boys is always abundantly evident. Frequently found directing from behind the piano, she has supported memorable performances of Fiddler on the Roof, Oliver!, and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, to name just a few. She’s also demonstrated a seemingly endless ability to teach our youngest boys to create wonderful music with an astonishing array of instruments, including a recorder. And, anyone who has had the good fortune to sit in on her annual “Holiday Singalong” just before the All-School Christmas Party will tell you that it’s an experience you will never forget.
“Mary Ann is an integral part of our Lower School family,” said Sherri Darver, Head of Lower School. “She knows and appreciates the traditions and the culture of our School. Whenever alumni return, they seek her out to say hello and to let her know how important her influence has been on them as students and young men.”
At the 2012 Spring Alumni Dinner, Mary Ann was honored for 40 years of exemplary service, where former student Matthew Fuller ’96 remarked, “Throughout my 11 years at St. Mark's, Mrs. Livengood taught me what it meant to be a boy and then a young adult. And, to this day, continues to influence me as a man.”
Looking ahead, Mary Ann is excited to spend more time with her family.