At the 2017 CTE Recognition Night, Director Jay DeTraglia presented two retiring educators with certificates of appreciation.
Glenn Marcucio is retiring after 25 years as a vehicle repair and maintenance instructor, and John Pecora is retiring after 14 years as a criminal justice instructor.
For the last 25 years Glenn Marcucio has been a vehicle repair and maintenance instructor at the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Career and Technical Center. The Amsterdam native and longtime Hagaman resident, who is retiring, says his quarter-century experience with the students, however, has really been more like running a business than teaching in a classroom.
Having been involved in a number of local businesses throughout the years, Marcucio used his entrepreneurial knowledge to provide students with real-world experience in his classroom. He said he often told students that their effort and commitment in school would translate to their careers, and he feels that resonated with students.
“I always told them, I grade you in class like I would pay you in the workforce,” he said.
Marcucio grew up in the city of Amsterdam. After graduating from the Wilbur H. Lynch High School, he attended Hudson Valley Community earning an associate’s degree in auto technology.
Soon after college, in 1977, Marcucio opened Glenn’s Auto Repair in Amsterdam. He first opened on Guy Park Avenue but then moved to a larger building on West Main Street. Alongside the garage, Marcucio also opened the Amsterdam Aquarium, a tropical fish store, with his friend and former Broadalbin-Perth science teacher David Drenzek. For several years, Marcucio ran a grandfather clock business from the garage, as well.
As a mechanic, Marcucio was known for his skill in repairing air conditioners, and it was that talent that lead him to teaching. John Brookman, the former longtime HFM automotive instructor, would invite Marcucio each year to be a guest instructor to teach students about air conditioners. When Brookman was forced to take a leave of absence to care for his wife, he asked Marcucio to fill in as a long-term substitute. While he was reticent at first due to his lack of teaching experience, Marcucio agreed to help Brookman, who was also a family friend. That month-long assignment changed his life.
“I absolutely loved it, and that’s when I started going back to school,” he said.
While still running his businesses, he returned to school to become a teacher. He attended classes at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, SUNY Albany and a SUNY Oswego program that was then available through Capital Region BOCES to earn his teacher certification.
His first full-time teaching job was at Hudson Valley Community College where he taught for three years before taking over permanently for Brookman when he retired from HFM BOCES in 1992. While working at BOCES, Marcucio was also an adjunct instructor at F-MCC.
In retirement, Marcucio plans to stay busy but says he’ll miss teaching.
“I’m going to miss it. It was like running my own business for 25 years,” Marcucio said, explaining that in his class, students would experience all aspects of working in a professional environment.
In his retirement, he plans to build a larger garage to restore his 1935 British Model Y Ford and his 1980 Comuta-Car and continue his hobbies, including metal detecting and flying drones. He also plans to continue to work part-time as a real estate agent for Inglenook Realty in Amsterdam.
When John Pecora started as the criminal justice instructor at the HFM Career and Technical Center 14 years ago, he had recently retired from a career in law enforcement and corrections, and had just 10 students in his classroom.
This year, Pecora, who will retire at the end of June, had approximately 80 students in the program. In addition to the growth in enrollment, the program has also seen increases in opportunities for students, who are now able to earn two types of security officer certification as well as first aid and X-Ray baggage screening certifications.
“I wish the students all the luck in the world,” Pecora said, noting many graduates of the program go on to successful careers in local and state law enforcement and other fields.
Pecora grew up in New Jersey and on Staten Island and attended Colorado State University and Montclair State, majoring in psychology and playing football. With aspirations of turning pro, he earned a tryout with the USFL’s New Jersey Generals, but a knee injury cut short his pursuit of a career on the gridiron. After football, he turned to boxing winning the New York City Golden Gloves tournament. He also trained with the U.S. Olympic team sparring with such greats as Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Tyrell Biggs before leaving boxing to pursue a career in law enforcement.
His nearly 20-year career began with the New York City Department of Correction and later the Police Department, where he was a detective investigator with the Fugitive Apprehension Division and later assigned to the commissioner’s office. While working in law enforcement, he also stayed active in football founding and serving as the president and head coach of the Department of Correction’s full-contact team. He also served as president and head coach of the NYPD football team.
After retiring from the city, he moved upstate with his wife and daughters and took the position as administrator of the Montgomery County Jail from 2001 to 2003. In September 2003, he began his teaching career at HFM.
Pecora has now moved back to New York City with his wife to enjoy retirement and watch his grandchildren grow up.