Beloved educator helps UB lift local schools

Vince Coppola is an alumnus of UB's Graduate School of Education.

Vince Coppola, local hero. Photo: Douglas Levere (BA '89)

Learn how he gets districts back on track.

"I think there are very few people in public education who have served the Western New York community so well for so long as Vince has."
Stephen Jacobson, UB Distinguished Professor
Department of Educational Leadership and Policy

If the measure of a person is the connections he makes with others, consider these endorsements and recognitions about Vincent J. Coppola (EdD ’71, EdM ’66, EdM ’63,) a beloved career educator many credit with establishing the foundation for UB’s mission to make a difference in local school districts.

  • “(Vince was) the ultimate voice of experience delivering a powerful message regarding the education of our children,” wrote Hamburg School Board President David Youviene after Coppola spoke at a meeting as acting superintendent in the once-troubled school district. “He did it with grace and compassion and that great sense of humor we all love. Our hero, the man that picked up our district when we stumbled.”
  • In a lengthy editorial, the Buffalo News praised Coppola’s “yeoman work” as acting superintendent in Hamburg, finding a “happy ending of a disaster movie” after “calming the disturbances that were tearing the district apart.”
  • The prestigious Executive Educator Journal selected Coppola as one of the top 100 administrators in North America. Most recently, he was one of five educators in New York State and one of 24 nationally chosen for the Excellence in Educational Leadership Award presented by the University Council for Educational Administration.

Administrators, professors and teachers from UB and local school districts agree: Coppola was “instrumental in developing relationships among the school districts and the Graduate School of Education,” says Alan Gellin, the school’s student/alumni relations specialist.

“I think there are very few people in public education who have served the Western New York community so well for so long as Vince has,” says Stephen L. Jacobson, UB Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy.

A former executive director of UB’s Western New York Educational Service Council (WNYESC), Coppola was a longtime adjunct faculty member in GSE, and an educator who spent 40 years working in public schools.

When asked to explain his ability to forge lasting relationships around teaching, Coppola credits his educational counseling training at UB. And his mother, Josephine Coppola, who taught him the importance of being kind and caring, and doing nice things for people.

“I always felt people were important,” he continues. “I really think that’s the core of who I am, and what I gained most from my experiences in the Graduate School of Education: that relationships are important and people are important.”
-Excerpted from UB Reporter