Remembering longtime educator, Leslie Stein

Leslie Stein, who dedicated 33 years to the Spencerport Central School District as a teacher and president of the Spencerport Teachers Association, passed away on Sept. 29.
Leslie Stein
Retired since 2006, Stein had joined the district in 1973 as a special education teacher and spent most of her career at Munn Elementary School.

The district recognized Stein upon her retirement in 2006 with an article in the Cornerstone newsletter. In it, Stein reflected on her career and said she most enjoyed working with children, mentoring other teachers, and encouraging students to enter the teaching profession.

“Just go into it for the right reason,” she encouraged, “to make a difference in children’s lives.”

Her dear friends, colleagues, and fellow teachers expressed their love and respect for Stein, as well as admiration for her passion for educating students.

Teacher Kim VanDeWeghe said, “Her smile and energy lit up the room and students loved her. I know there were students who contacted her years after graduation to tell her the positive impact she'd made on their lives. Leslie was witty, smart, strong, compassionate, multi-talented and a life-long learner. I miss her smile, her thoughtful advice and the sound of her laughter.”

Former Superintendent Bonnie Seaburn, shared, “To say that she was a phenomenal teacher would be an understatement. She had a deep understanding of the individual needs of her students and she absolutely loved teaching and she loved her students. She was viewed by all in the school as a leader and as a teacher to be emulated.”

Retired STA President and Teacher John Kozlowski said, “every once in a while, a person comes into our lives and they have a profound impact on us. We grow to trust and confide in them. They become like family. While Leslie was my mentor, colleague, and a trusted confidant, most importantly, she was one of my dearest friends! I am heartbroken by her loss.”

These reflections in their entirety may be found on the right.

Reflections from friends and colleagues

An amazing educator, union leader, and social activist, the majority of my memories of Leslie were on a more personal rather than professional level. Recently, though, there was a crossover of those two worlds that truly touched me. My daughter Emily, who has had a very close familial and mentoring relationship with Leslie for her entire life, changed her college major to education after her freshman year. While several of the current and retired teachers in Emily’s life expressed concern about this choice, Leslie was thrilled.

Leslie was a fervent believer in the power of public education and the ability of every adult in the school system’s chance to impact student lives. She remained hopeful through years of changes in education, including the most recent challenges. Although Leslie is no longer physically present in Emily’s life, she will remain a mentor for both Emily and all whom she touched through what she modeled: empathy for others, trust in public service, commitment to students of all abilities and levels, and advocacy for people in marginalized groups and communities.


Julie Fish
Cosgrove teacher and friend



Leslie Stein was instrumental in transforming the relationship between the Spencerport Teachers’ Association and the Spencerport Central School District. Together with Superintendent, Phil Langton, she forged a collaborative relationship that was built on trust and respect. Administrators, teachers, and the support staff in the district benefited from her innovative and transformational leadership. Most importantly, our students have and continue to benefit from the unique partnership she helped create.

Leslie was an outstanding teacher, union leader, and social justice activist. She was honest, kind, thoughtful, caring, and genuine. I have found that as we travel through life, a host of people come into our lives. Some leave our lives as quickly as they came in. Others become acquaintances that we communicate with occasionally. However, every once in a while, a person comes into our lives and they have a profound impact on us. We grow to trust and confide in them. They become like family. While Leslie was my mentor, colleague, and a trusted confidant, most importantly, she was one of my dearest friends! I am heartbroken by her loss.


John Kozlowski
Retired STA president, teacher and friend



I had the privilege of calling Leslie a colleague and a friend for the 9 years I was at Munn and all years since. She and I taught fifth grade together. Leslie was passionate about teaching and brought that to the classroom every day. Her smile and energy lit up the room and students loved her. She'd sing songs for social studies when we studied the states and capitals. I recall the many hands-on projects she planned and these often had some cooking involved. Leslie was a talented cook and huge fan of Broadway musicals, so no surprise that she shared this with us at school. I know there were students who contacted her years after graduation to tell her the positive impact she'd made on their lives. Leslie was witty, smart, strong, compassionate, multi-talented and a life-long learner. Upon retirement, she even took up tap dancing and joined a chorus. It was always fun getting an invitation to her performances. Leslie was a model teacher who put the social and emotional health of children first. She made learning fun.

I had a good visit with her the day before we started back to school and I told her how we all miss the amazing, motivating speeches she used to give; she smiled and I know I she understood. Leslie worked on those speeches ( and humorously skits!) all summer long.

I miss her smile, her thoughtful advice and the sound of her laughter.

Kim VanDeWeghe
Cosgrove teacher and friend



I first met Leslie when I was the principal at Munn and Leslie was a special education teacher. To say that she was a phenomenal teacher would be an understatement. She had a deep understanding of the individual needs of her students and she absolutely loved teaching and she loved her students. She was viewed by all in the school as a leader and as a teacher to be emulated.

In subsequent years, I worked with Leslie in her capacity as the STA president. The skills she possessed of empathy, understanding, deep knowledge
of various situations and fairness above all were always present during any interactions with her. In difficult situations, she could always work together towards a middle ground. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her.

Bonnie Seaburn
Retired superintendent and friend