Steven J. Ippolito’s 38 year career with the Liberty Central School District began with tennis. He was hired under the pretense that since he could play tennis, he could teach it. So his first role, one of many at Liberty, was that of 6th grade tennis instructor.
Mr. Ippolito, a World War II veteran, attended Buffalo State College on the G.I. Bill in 1952. In addition to tennis, his teaching assignments at Liberty were that of sixth grade teacher, high school social studies teacher and ultimately the high school librarian. It is in this final role that is his most fondly remembered.
He began working in the I.M.C. or Instructional Media Center as the Audio-Visual Coordinator in 1968 while still teaching social studies. He was the prototype of today’s media specialist. Filmstrips, slide and 35 mm projectors, microfiche, cassette and record players were the media tools of the era. The new high school on Buckley Street was a state-of-the-art facility at the time and was the standard that other schools strived to emulate.
Working with teachers and department chairpersons, Mr. Ippolito
helped coordinate independent study projects using this “new”
technology. With the advent of computer media, Mr. Ippolito helped
students conduct research using the search engines of the time
that were linked to the BOCES facility. He taught students to use
the 8mm film editing equipment, and mass media projects were
judged by SUNY Albany’s film department.
As advisor for the Audio-Visual Club, he supervised the club’s members as they delivered and set up the various forms of media needed – from films to instructional cassettes, the AV Club handled it all. Throughout his tenure he was the mentor to a number of successful students including Mitch Etess, Daryl Berman and Jeff Goldner and fellow Wall of Fame inductee Alan Gerry. His daughter Mary recalls frequent phone calls from Mr. Gerry and the hours they would spend discussing technology, with her father dispensing advice to the budding cable television entrepreneur.
What stands out to students above and beyond his audio-visual prowess was his kindness. He is recalled as fair, patient, calm, compassionate and encouraging. He was known to be a great listener who didn’t pass judgment and would go out of his way to help any student. Mr. Ippolito was the teacher who stayed for hours after school to help struggling students. He took the time to tutor pregnant students who, at the time, were not allowed to attend classes due to their “condition.” He once altered his own suit to give to a student to wear for a special occasion.
Remembered as a gentle teacher with a great smile and unsurpassed
sense of humor, Steven Ippolito’s commitment to the students he
taught and the community he lived in makes his legacy at Liberty a