As Joe Zaczek fittingly puts it, “It’s been a good ride.”
Gilbertsville-Mount Upton’s Transportation Supervisor will close a 30-year career with the district when he officially retires January 4, 2021. The 69-year-old Mount Upton graduate said he’s not sure what he’ll do next, although spending time in Florida with his wife, Linda, is right at the top of the list.
“Ask me again in three months,” said Joe, whose family moved from Deposit to Mount Upton when he was a sixth-grader. “Retirement is a new thing for me.”
Transportation was new to Joe at one point, too, as the opportunity to drive buses just sort of popped up. Although active daily on his family’s farm, Joe agreed to become a bus driver in January of 1991 at the request of then-Mount Upton superintendent Michael Klockowski.
“He called me and asked if there was any way I could help out because someone was sick and they needed a driver,” Joe said of Klockowski, his former basketball coach. “I was going to take a month off and do nothing, but two weeks later, I was on the road.”
Six years after that, “they talked me into taking the supervisor job,” and the rest is transportation history.
“I had no idea I was going to do this,” said Joe, who raised three children (Brian, Jeff, Joanne) with high-school sweetheart Linda along the way. “It went very fast, but it’s been a good ride.”
Asked what he’ll miss the most, Joe didn’t hesitate: “The kids. You just get attached to them. You know their car, you know their parents, you know if they’re home, you know if they’re not home. They’re like your own kids.”
GMU thanks Joe for his three decades of service to the district and wishes him nothing but the best in retirement!