weather icon Clear

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.
Additional $20M in PETS grant funds available

Gov. Steve Sisolak, the Nevada State Treasurer’s Office and the Governor’s Office of Economic of Development on Wednesday announced an additional infusion of $20 million in to the Pandemic Emergency Technical Support grant program, which opened for applicants Monday.

IN SEASON: Carrots, a kaleidoscope of colors, sizes and shapes

Carrots are a pretty inexpensive vegetable to buy at the grocery store, and for this reason many gardeners do not grow them. I like to grow them because they come in beautiful varieties and can fit easily between other vegetables in the garden. That space would not be used otherwise so I like to make good use of it.

Dilger, Study team to win Mike’s Midnight Madness

With the Nevada State Horseshoe Pitching Association championships in Tonopah just weeks away, Pahrump pitchers have been getting ready by competing in both NSHPA-sanctioned tournaments and the more informal backyard series tournaments.

Senior Menus

Pahrump Senior Center

Hundreds remember Dusty Park at Pahrump Valley Speedway

It was billed as a Celebration of Life for Dusty Park, and much of the afternoon felt like a celebration. There was laughter and sharing stories among the several hundred people who gathered Sunday at Pahrump Valley Speedway to remember him.

IN SEASON: The beat on beets

I’ve noticed that one of the most requested items at the Farmers Market is beets. It mystifies me because I am not a fan of the flavor. Beets are fun to grow though, and very versatile. They are also easy to grow and have a quick turn-around from seed to harvest.