59°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

J.G. Johnson Elementary welcomes new leader

Students and faculty at J.G. Johnson Elementary School will see a new face behind the principal’s desk beginning on Monday.

Charles O’Connor was hired this year as J.G. Johnson’s new principal. O’Connor, originally from Chicago, has served in education for 16 years.

He also has both administrative and teaching experience and is working on his Doctorate in Educational Administration.

O’Connor succeeds Principal Jeff Skelton, who is now principal at Floyd Elementary .

This week, O’Connor spoke about his career and what brought him and his wife to the Pahrump Valley.

Where are you from?

“I originally grew up in Chicago and went all the way through schools there. I went to Loyola University and I’m from a large family with seven children. My parents were very hard working and sent us to good Catholic schools. After I completed my education, I took a job as a teacher in Colorado where I taught school there for 17 years. I earned my principal’s license after that and I’ve been an administrator for the last four years. There were no principal jobs in Colorado so I opted to try for Nevada and have been successful.”

How are you adjusting to the community?

“I’ve only been here for a couple of weeks and I love the community and the people of Pahrump have been so nice to me. I had to stay at the Pahrump Nugget for two weeks and they’re the nicest people I’ve ever met. Everywhere I have gone to get my electric or water turned on, people have just been so nice and teachers here are awesome. I’m real proud to be part of this community.”

With that said, how are you adjusting to the climate here?

“I’m staying in air conditioned buildings. It does get into the 90’s in Colorado. I’m not used to the terrible, terrible heat, but so far, it hasn’t been so bad.”

Why did you choose education as a career?

“When I was in third grade, my teacher had broken her leg one day and she asked two of us to teach school for her. She asked me to teach reading and writing and by the end of the day, I thought to myself that this would be a great career. I was 8 or 9 years-old and ever since then, I wanted to be a teacher and I achieved my goal.”

In your mind, how much have students’ sensibilities toward education changed since you were attending school?

“When I was going to school, children really did things without asking or questioning. Now I find children question more and it certainly creates a more interesting group, but they probably don’t listen as well when you or I did. I’m used to that after all these years. I’m not new to the trends today and I love children, so it doesn’t matter.”

Would you care to talk about your family life and what you do in your leisure time?

“Mrs. O’Connor and I have been married 25 years. She’s from Ireland and she’s a registered nurse. Our daughter is 22 years old and she’s an Irish dancer and she also attends college. As far as hobbies, I climbed the 50 highest peaks in Colorado, so I’m looking forward to some of the climbing around here. I passed through some beautiful mountains when I came in from Las Vegas and it looks very interesting. I’m also a ranked chess player.”

I understand you once played racquetball with someone of international prominence. Who was that?

“I played against President Obama. I grew up in Chicago, and he’s from the south side. He lived in a neighborhood called Hyde Park, and I was at the YMCA one day with one of my buddies and we played partners against him. Obama was a senator back then and we beat them two games out of three.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Nye County’s financial prospects look grim

Nye County Comptroller Savannah Rucker provided the Nye County Commission with an update on its financial situation in light of the novel coronavirus and the outlook is far from rosy, with Rucker reporting that the county is already eyeing a nearly $2 million deficit in revenue versus expenses for this fiscal year.

Three Square opening one-day drive-thru food pantry in Pahrump

A one-day drive-thru emergency food distribution site will be open Monday, April 6, in Pahrump as part of an emergency strategy Three Square Food Bank has implemented to ensure that food-insecure Southern Nevadans have access to food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pahrump’s Andersen, Norton win horseshoes tournament at cook-off

In what might have been the last competitive event held in Pahrump before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sports, Dennis Andersen and Mike Norton of Pahrump won first place in the Silver State Chili Cook-Off Horseshoes Tournament on March 14 at Petrack Park.

Pahrump Valley Academy’s charter school application denied

Pahrump Valley Academy has been striving to become the valley’s very first charter school, aiming to open its doors in the fall of 2020 but after more than a year of effort, the fledgling academic institution is no more.

NyECC nearly 100% operational despite coronavirus

The NyE Communities Coalition, widely considered one of the most important hubs of information and resources in Nye County, is operating at nearly 100 percent capacity despite the many challenges it has had to overcome in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 1 is census day

Today is “Census Day,” and though minds all around America are occupied by concerns regarding the novel coronavirus, the U.S. Census Bureau is continuing its efforts to conduct this constitutionally-mandated decennial process. Census officials are urging everyone residing in the U.S., regardless of citizenship, to make sure they and their families are included in this most important count.

Serenity Health partnering with Nye for COVID-19 testing

Testing for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has been a point of major contention in recent weeks as states grapple to keep pace with demand and though testing supplies are being stretched thin, Serenity Health, through its lab, has managed to secure enough kits to partner with Nye County to conduct drive-up testing in three local communities.

Chili Cook Off in Pahrump brings in $5k

The 8th Annual Silver State Chili Cook Off took over Petrack Park March 14 and 15, drawing people from all walks of life for two days of chili tasting and community fun, with all of the proceeds earmarked for one of the Pahrump Valley’s well-known nonprofit organizations, the Nevada Outreach Training Organization and its No to Abuse program.

Sisolak orders stay on all evictions in Nevada

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford and Nevada State Treasurer Zach Conine made an announcement on Sunday, March 29 that will have many in the state breathing a sign of relief. Residents no longer have to worry about losing their home or business location if they are unable to make their rent or mortgage payments in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

4th Annual Veterans Extravaganza in Pahrump sees another successful year

Ask any of the participants or organizers at the Veterans Extravaganza and you’ll likely end up with the same answer from each of them; it’s all about giving back to the men and women who have donned a U.S. military uniform and dedicated themselves to serving the country, often sacrificing their own personal well-being in order to help protect America and its citizens.