|Birth: ||Aug. 14, 1955|
|Death: ||Feb. 4, 2004|
New Mexico, USA
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Valley High Teacher Earned His Students' Admiration
By Jeff Proctor
Journal Staff Writer
Marty Paco made math, even calculus, fun for his students.
Paco taught for more than 20 years at Valley High School, where "a year never went by that he wasn't recognized for something," said Candy Paco, his wife of 24 years.
After retiring from Albuquerque Public Schools in 2002, he went on to teach at Albuquerque Academy.
Paco, of Albuquerque, died Jan. 4 of cancer. He was 48.
Born Aug. 14, 1955, in Provo, Utah, Paco moved with his parents to Albuquerque when he was 7 years old, his wife said. He began his career with APS in 1984.
"He was a goofy guy in terms of his playfulness," said Paula Eglinton, a Valley math teacher who worked with Paco for 13 years. "But when it came down to teaching math, he was serious, determined, and he had high expectations for his students."
Martin T. Paco taught everything from low-level algebra to upper-division calculus at Valley, Eglinton said. He enjoyed both, but the calculus students, many of whom he sent on to big-name colleges by way of advanced-placement tests, were his pride and joy.
Among the awards he won were the 1990 Valley High School Alumni Teacher of the Year, the 1994 Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce Crystal Apple Award and the 1995 District Teacher Presidential Scholar Award.
The latter earned the couple a trip to Washington, D.C., where Paco shook President Clinton's hand on the White House lawn.
The seed for Paco's move to Academy was sown in the early 1990s, when he met the then-chairman of the Academy math department, Don Smith, at a calculus convention at the University of New Mexico.
"I was just immediately drawn to him," said Smith, who is now assistant head of school at Academy. "I kept in touch with him, and we hoped that eventually we'd be able to get him to come here."
During his time at Academy, Paco touched many students, even those who weren't in his classes, said senior Lauren Guidice.
"He could find what was special about everyone and bring it to the surface," she said. "He got me to where I actually love calculus now. I will definitely take it in college because of him."
Candy Paco said her husband always had a project at home and was a great father.
"As strongly as he felt about his students, he was just as fond of his own kids," she said.
Paco is survived by his wife; a daughter, Michelle, 21; a son, David, 20; his father, Ruben; and two brothers, Daniel and Julian, all of Albuquerque. His sister, Laura, lives in Dallas.
Services were held Saturday at the Albuquerque Academy Simms Auditorium.
The family requests that donations be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 102454, Atlanta, Ga. 30368.
Ruben Paco (____ - 2004)
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Record added: Oct 01, 2013
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