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Sal Lipari’s Death Mourned

Long-time South Middle Principal

Salvatore (Sal) Lipari died on July 13, 2009, at age 79, after a long illness. A funeral service was held at the Manhasset Quaker Meeting House on July 16.

The longtime Great Neck resident and educator retired as an administrator in the Great Neck Public Schools in June 2004, after a career that spanned 45 years in the school district. He was a principal for 29 years, perhaps setting a record as the employee with the greatest number of years in that position.

Mr. Lipari began his employment in Great Neck in 1958 as a sixth-grade teacher at the Lakeville Elementary School. The following year, he moved to South Junior High School as an English and social studies teacher. From 1961 to 1964, he continued to teach social studies.

Samuel Levitt, a close friend, was a member of the South Junior social studies department with Mr. Lipari. He said, “Sal was a voracious reader and particularly enjoyed the study of history. He was especially gifted in his ability to connect with young people. Sal was a fine friend and a very important colleague and mentor. He was a quiet, but dedicated, conversationalist, particularly when discussing educational philosophy, the educational process, ideas, and people.”

In 1964, Sal Lipari became a guidance counselor, first at South Junior High School and then at North Junior High School. He was named assistant principal at South Junior High School in 1968. In 1975, he became principal of South Junior High School (later reconfigured as South Middle School). He remained in that position until his retirement in June 2004.

Mr. Levitt added that very few educators assume the rolls of teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal, and principal in the course of their careers and that Mr. Lipari was to be commended for his skills and talents in each of these areas.

Arlette Sanders, former assistant superintendent-secondary, said, “Sal’s major interest was the well-being of the children. He bent over backwards for all kids, especially those with special needs. Similarly, he was compassionate toward staff members, particularly those with problems. Sal showed a personal interest and concern for everyone—children and adults—and tried to meet their needs.”

Before joining the Great Neck Public Schools, Mr. Lipari taught in Elmont for five years. He was awarded certification as a school administrator and supervisor in 1959. He received a Master of Arts in elementary education and teaching the mentally retarded in l954 and a Bachelor of Arts in social studies and secondary education in 1952, both from Brooklyn College.

After his retirement, Mr. Lipari retained his connection with the Great Neck Public Schools by becoming active in the Adult Program. In addition to taking numerous courses in computers, poetry writing, Tai Chi, meditation, and Italian, in particular, he was appointed to the Board of Education’s Adult Education Advisory Committee. He served in this capacity from 2005–08 and was elected to its Executive Board in 2007–08.

Ronna Telsey, director of public information and adult education, said, “It was wonderful to be able to continue my long association and friendship with Sal at the Adult Program. He was a tremendous asset to the Advisory Committee. His thoughtful observations, particularly about curriculum and materials, such as language textbooks, were always on target. The office staff developed a close relationship with him and he would frequently discourse in Italian with two staffers who are fluent in the language. We will certainly miss his presence.”

Mr. Lipari is survived by his wife, Ilene, and three children, Lisbeth, Stevenand Samuel. Donations in Mr. Lipari’s memory can be made to the American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 10102, www.afsc.org.