Questar III BOCES is pleased to announce that its special education program located at the former Maple Hill Middle School is now named the Paul Puccio School at Maple Hill. The new name honors the memory and legacy of the late Paul Puccio, who gave so much of his life to public education and students in Schodack and Questar III.
Questar III District Superintendent Dr. Gladys I. Cruz said it was only fitting to name this school for Puccio, who served simultaneously on three school boards – Schodack CSD, Questar III and Tech Valley High School.
“Paul was the model school board member that every superintendent and community needed. Throughout his work and deliberations, he focused on expanding opportunities for our students to learn and for our school districts to work together and collaborate. Paul’s mission of service – to enrich the lives of others – is our mission at the BOCES – and we continue to be inspired by his life’s work,” said Cruz.
Puccio dedicated his life to public service and community involvement. He was first elected to the Schodack CSD Board of Education in 1981 and Questar III Board of Education in 1999 (and served in both capacities until his death in February 2019).
“We are proud to recognize Paul Puccio for his outstanding leadership and service to the Schodack Central School District and greater community,” Schodack Central School District Superintendent, Jason Chevrier, said. “We are proud and honored to partner with Questar III BOCES to see their program in Schodack named after Mr. Puccio. It is a great recognition of his commitment to all students, our schools and the greater Schodack community.”
He helped many of the Questar III programs and services expand and restructure their offerings to better serve students and school districts. He chaired the board’s audit committee, meeting regularly with business officials. Puccio also served as an instructor and curriculum developer for required board trainings. In 2017, he developed an online training program for new and veteran board members.
Puccio was also a founding member of the Tech Valley High School Operating Board, serving as its first president from 2006 to 2018. As president, Puccio and his colleagues helped Tech Valley High School grow into a nationally recognized school. Today, it continues to lead public education into the future, fostering new relationships with business, higher education, and the community.
The Paul Puccio School at Maple Hill serves special education students attending two different Questar III programs, a middle school therapeutic program (TYP) and a middle school New York State Alternative Assessment (NYSSA) program. The TYP classes are designed for students in a mental health diagnosis that interferes with success in school, which may include school phobia and anxiety. The NYSSA classes are designed for students with significant cognitive difficulties as well as social and behavioral disabilities.
Questar III and Schodack CSD will plan a formal dedication ceremony in 2021 when conditions allow for safe gatherings.