He began his career in education in 1970 as a special education teacher in the Topeka, Kansas, public school district. He became superintendent of the Topeka district in 1988 and served in that position for five years before moving to Spokane the first time.
Livingston is a community college graduate, earning an associate of arts degree at Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kansas. The institution honored him with its Outstanding Alumnus of the Year award in 1988. He completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology/special education at Emporia State University in Kansas. He earned his doctoral degree in administration from Kansas State University and, in 1990, was selected Alumni Fellow for the College of Education.
He has been a member and president of the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), American Association of School Administrators and Society for Schools Executives. In 1997, WASA recognized him as State Superintendent of the year, and the following year, presented him with the Washington Leadership in Education Award. In 2005, Gary was named ‘Pacesetter Of The Year’ by the Community College National Council for Marketing and Public Relations District 7. The Washington State Trustees Association (TACTC) selected him for the Washington 2007 Award for Leadership.