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Athletics & Wellness Staff

Samantha Little - Director of Athletics and Wellness

Samantha Little


Stephanie Valletta - Coordinator of Student Wellness and Athletics

Stephanie Valletta

Stephanie Valletta has been a Special Education Teacher in the Ithaca City School District since 2012. In that time, she has worked as our varsity and JV girls' basketball coach and also coached our Unified Sports basketball team. Before her time in Ithaca, she taught and coached in Stafford County, Virginia. Stephanie graduated from the University at Buffalo with a Bachelor's Degree in History and Political Science and earned her Master's Degree in Adolescent and Special Education from St. John Fisher College in Rochester. A native of Syracuse, New York, Stephanie is a devoted mother to her daughter, Lilliana, and is an avid Syracuse Orange fan. Stephanie is looking forward to continuing her work as a coach this year and is also very excited about her new role as the Athletic Compliance Officer. Stephanie sees this as an opportunity to help ICSD student-athletes increase their engagement in and out of the classroom and as a way to help students reach their goals in high school and beyond.

Contact Information

How to Contact College Coaches: Emailing, Texting, Calling and Direct Messaging Coaches
I YOU WE: Family & Students
NCAA Q&A Presentation June 2022


Emily Smith - Administrative Assistant

Emily Smith
Contact Information

Emily, although fairly new to the ICSD District, she has been living in Ithaca since 2011. Leaving Buffalo, NY she came to Ithaca College to study at the Roy H. Park School of Communications and graduated in 2015 with a BFA in Film, Photography & Visual Arts. Working with some local businesses and not-for-profits, such as Primitive Pursuits, she began putting down her roots in the community. Shifting to work in the restaurant business for four years, Emily managed a local restaurant on the commons. Now working with ICSD Athletics she loves connecting with the youth and local community in a new way.

Throughout high school and college Emily ran Cross Country and Track. She competed in three NCAA National races while at Ithaca College. Her time as a runner taught her how important inter-scholastic sports are for the growth and empowerment of young people. Emily hopes to develop and maintain these accessible and quality programs through ICSD Athletics that will have a meaningful impact on our students and community.




Harbir Benipal - Head Strength & Conditioning Coach

Harbir BenipalĀ - Head Strength & Conditioning Coach

Harbir is the head strength and conditioning coach for Ithaca High School. He grew up in Ithaca and is an Ithaca High School graduate class of 2013. During his time at Ithaca High School, he lettered in football where he was elected captain twice and voted to the Ernie Davis All-Star Game. Harbir started his coaching experience at Ithaca High School as an assistant coach for the Lil Red Varsity/JV football team from 2015 to 2017. During that time he was also strength and conditioning coach for the football team, helping with alpine skiing and wrestling. After a brief hiatus, Harbir returned in the summer of 2018 and has since worked with and programmed for multiple teams at IHS, including football, boys and girls lacrosse, baseball, indoor track, throw, and boys and girls hockey. He has experience working in the private sector with different high school teams and collegiate athletes from around the region. Furthermore, he has experience at the collegiate strength and conditioning level working with the Cornell Big Red men's ice hockey and football teams.

As the head strength and conditioning coach, Harbir oversees the programming and implementation of strength and conditioning programs for all 28 teams at the high school and day-to-day operations in the weight room. During his time here he has aided multiple student-athletes in taking the next step to collegiate athletics.
Cassidy Clough headshot

Cassidy Clough

Marcia McDonald headshot

Marcia McDonald

Neena Merola headshot

Neena Merola

Mario Rosetti headshot

Mario Rosetti