Steven Freedman, Teacher from UFT
* Retired teacher
Steven Freedman, who taught for 32 years at public schools throughout New York City and continued to teach in other venues after his retirement, died on April 18, 2020, at age 71, of complications from COVID-19.
“Teaching was his passion and teaching high school social studies was all Steven ever wanted to do,” said his wife, Dianne Weiser Freedman. When he retired in 2004, Steven was a teacher and a test coordinator at Forest Hills HS in Queens, and had mentored many student teachers over the years.
Maricor Santiago, a teacher at Forest Hills HS, was a student teacher there in 2003 and had the benefit of Steven’s advice. “He helped me understand how to be flexible in the classroom and how to think on my feet and go with the flow,” she said. “He didn’t micromanage and had the utmost confidence in my competence, which is just what I needed as a student teacher.”
In addition to being a superlative teacher, “Steven was a very generous and kind person. We stayed in touch over the years,” Santiago said.
Steven graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education. He began working as a substitute teacher at Newtown HS in Elmhurst, Queens, and in schools in the South Bronx while pursuing a master’s degree in medieval history at NYU.
When he was excessed during the recession in 1975, Steven attended St. John’s School of Law. When he was reinstated by the Board of Education in 1976, he continued to teach by day while attending school at night.
After graduating and passing the New York State bar exam, Steven taught high school history and law classes, as well as evening school at Erasmus HS in Brooklyn and summer school at various sites. He worked with many student teachers at Abraham Lincoln HS in Brooklyn and Forest Hills HS, inspiring and guiding them in their careers.
After retirement, Steven continued teaching students with learning and emotional disabilities at the Nassau and Suffolk Learning Center on Bayshore, Long Island. He also privately tutored students. He had a lifetime interest in the tales of King Arthur and in medieval history, and developed a love of jewelry making.
“Steven enjoyed quiet pleasures: walking along the beach, going to museums, spending time with me at an inn in Woodstock, New York,” said his wife Dianne. “His greatest joy was his family.”
He is survived by his wife, Dianne; his three children Aaron, Benjamin and Sasha; and six grandchildren.