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J.G. Johnson Elementary principal retiring

Debbie Carle’s academic journey began in 1990 where her first job was teaching first grade in Arizona for four years.

After taking some time off in the mid-90s to start a family, Carle returned to academia and soon after joined the Nye County School District in 1998. She bounced around various roles and positions until landing the principal spot at J.G. Johnson Elementary school four years ago.

“I wore many hats at the district level, which gave me the opportunity to travel to every school in the district,” said Carle.

In addition to being in the classroom teaching multiple grade levels, Ms. Carle also was an instructional coach as well as the lead coordinator of all of the state testing (not a glamorous job, but one that somebody had to do).

“One of the best skills that I acquired early on and still continue to learn today, is the art of teaching children to read. I love seeing their eyes light up when they discover they have ‘cracked the code’,” said Carle.

Carle loves the challenge of figuring out what it takes to help a struggling reader find the words on the page and gain the confidence to move forward.

According to Carle, the art of teaching students to read is continually being refined and it has been very fulfilling to be a part of seeing the shifts and implementing new strategies to help students become successful.

Being with the district for 24 years, Carle has also seen a lot change.

“It has grown. When I came, the middle and elementary schools were year-round. There were two elementary schools in Pahrump and the superintendent lived in Tonopah,” said Carle.

Three new elementary schools have since been built, a new middle school, and a new and renovated high school have gone up in Debbie Carle’s tenure with the school district.

J.G. Johnson, however, remains the oldest brick and mortar school in the district. Despite its age, the district has had some renovation projects both inside and out to keep Carle’s school up to date.

According to Carle, the whole community uses their facility for several programs because of its central location. Fresh paint, new lighting and carpet have made a big difference.

“Despite being the oldest, there is a lot of love inside. We are a family that truly cares about and looks after one another,” said Carle.

It wasn’t always easy, as anyone in academia can attest to. Carle’s biggest regret in academia also proved to be her biggest challenge, as well.

“My biggest regret is the pandemic. Although it was out of my control, it really put a roadblock in my administrative journey at JG,” said Carle.

Debbie Carle knew when she became principal she had four years to make five years worth of progress. She only got two years because of the pandemic.

“We had to face things we never imagined we would see in a lifetime. With challenges comes growth. The pandemic has made us stronger, more determined, more flexible, more creative and closer as we faced it together as a staff and student body. We had the motto of ‘whatever it takes’ and these past two years it has taken a lot,” said Carle.

And they did whatever it took. Now, just like she did some 20 years ago to start a family, Debbie plans on stepping away for good one last time to be closer to children and grandchildren.

But retirement doesn’t always come easy.

“I have a special love for JG. Most of my career has been at J.G. Johnson. Two of my children and grandchildren attended J.G. Johnson. I love the families at JG. Most importantly, I love, love, love the students. I will miss them the most,” said Carle.

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