by Gladys I. Cruz

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Last month, our region lost an extraordinary public servant who gave so much and who gave life to many initiatives and ideas through his leadership. Questar III Board Member Paul Puccio passed away surrounded by his loving family.

Paul was a wonderful individual who devoted his life to helping others – and a tireless advocate for students across our BOCES region. He served simultaneously on three school boards – Questar III, Schodack CSD and Tech Valley High School. His mission of service – to enrich the lives of others – was our mission and we will continue to be inspired by his entrepreneurial spirit and focus on the needs of students.

Paul was a champion and friend for public education – and a driver of some much-needed change in our field. He recognized the need to change our instructional approach and to challenge the status quo. To me, it is only fitting that he was the first board president at Tech Valley High School. He worked so hard to mobilize support and to get others to see the value of what some thought was a crazy idea. Today, the school is a model for others and an example of what can come from taking a calculated risk.

He was wise and candid – and mentored countless school leaders during his 30-plus years as a board member. He was the model board member who sought to impart his knowledge and experience to help others grow (and better understand their role and impact). In fact, several years ago, he approached me about creating a special training for board members. Paul quickly took charge of this project and today it is an 24/7 online resource for new and veteran board members alike.

Paul was so giving of his time and talents. I will miss his leadership. More importantly, I will miss his friendship and support.

Mark Twain said, “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” Paul Puccio lived this idea to the fullest, sharing his joys of life, learning and collaboration with so many of us, from his family and friends to his school colleagues.

Paul’s legacy will continue to live on with his family and friends, in our work as a BOCES and within us as leaders who will carry on his ideals, values and aspirations. Godspeed Paul – and thank you!

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