He always called me “Partner.” We were partners in many community activities. Guy Sconzo, who died April 21, was a partner and leader to many, including to me.
When he was chosen by the Humble school board to succeed Dr. Michael Say back in 2001, I called a colleague at the Oklahoma City newspaper to see what they had to say about Guy and if all we had heard about his good reputation was deserved. Yes, came the answer, emphatically yes. The entire city was bereft he was leaving. But at that time, Michael and Jennifer, Guy and Diane’s children, were in college at Texas A&M and they wanted to be closer to them. If there is an award for Best-Aggie-spirit-of-a-non-Aggie, Guy should have won. He drove maroon cars, wore maroon shirts and hats and never missed a chance to tease this Longhorn about the outstanding characteristics of Aggiedom.
He had dozens of partners at the district and later, throughout the state, as the CEO of the Fast Growth Coalition. I learned a lot from Guy about giving people a job and then letting them do it. In the 15 years he led Humble ISD, I never heard a complaint about him. He enjoyed a peaceful “reign” and the community loved him for his style of less-is-more leadership.
Leading by letting others manage their responsibilities and not second guessing them is how partners treat each other.
We were busy partners. I asked him to serve on the HAAM board and he recruited me to the Boy Scouts council. I led the effort to have him nominated as Citizen of the Year. We worked together to raise money for Project Graduations that needed some boosting. We supported the causes of each other whenever we could. We joined forces to push the Empty Stocking Toy Drive into a much larger community effort. For years, we hosted the kickoff party for the toy season. In 2007, when the district was millions in debt due to lack of state funding, he asked me to help Humble ISD raise revenue through sports marketing and school bus advertising. We held that partnership together for the betterment of Humble ISD and this year, 10 years later, I have just sent the one millionth dollar to the district.
Guy was congenial and self deprecating and terrifically loyal. Most days, he would wear either a bright, kid-friendly tie or a polo shirt embroidered with the logo of Kingwood, Humble or one of the other high schools. He seemed indefatigable - he always showed up - appearing at dozens of school events every month. He took time every day to personally write notes to students across the district, congratulating them for successes large and small. And by the way, he kept the neatest desk! No stacks of papers and piles of tasks- he was organized and tidy.
In reality, he was everyone’s partner. I will always remember the night he danced at the inaugural YMCA’s fundraiser - Dancing For the Partners. He stepped onto the stage, our very own John Travolta in an all-white suit with vest and an open black shirt. Shimmying and shaking and pointing and smiling, he brought down the house. His partner that night was Cyndi Vaughn, the dance teacher at K Park.
But his forever partner was Diane. Ever gracious and always on his elbow, they made a terrific pair. I think they would agree he was the outgoing one to her reserved demeanor. He giggled - a lot - and had a slightly gravelly voice that sounded like a big hug. He told me once that when they were dating, he announced he was finished with school. Diane smiled and said, “Oh really. Well call me when you finish your education.” He went straight back to classes, they got married and created a wonderful life. Perhaps quieter, but she was always the boss, he said.
Diane and Guy came to my son’s wedding two years ago where the DJ had all the married couples on the dance floor to see who was married the longest. Slowly, the pairs returned to their tables as the number of years married were called out. And who was left standing at the end of the dance? Diane and Guy, edging out Donald and Gayle Sampley. The Sconzos had more than 40 years. Asked their secret, Guy told the crowd, “Well, she is always right!” Partners who figured it out.
So now we have lost him and we are all diminished. We will all have other partnerships. Many will continue to work hard for the students of our district and for the community. But it will not be the same.
And the song he was dancing to at that long ago YMCA event? “Stayin’ Alive.” If only.