Paquette is a graduate of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, holding a bachelor's degree in school nurse teaching. Earlier in her career, she spent 24 years as a teacher, supervisor and eventually administrator in the East Greenbush school district. She obtained her master's and doctoral degrees from SUNY Albany and spent three years as principal of the Ticonderoga Middle School before returning to Champlain in 1987. She joined her husband, Lawrence, in running his family's business, Paquette's Insurance Agency, until his death in 1992, and managed it until the business was sold in 2008.
Paquette now joins the ranks of several dozen others who have received the designation of Irishman of the Year since 1959.