Charlie Condron remembered as innovative educator
Charlie Condron was molded by Douglas County’s school system, and then he returned to Carson Valley and helped blaze a new trail in education in the place he loved.
Condron attended, taught at and administered four Carson Valley schools during his 26-year career.
He died March 28 at the age of 65.
“Anyone fortunate to have known Charlie was enriched for the experience,” longtime friend John Soderman said. “I feel blessed to have known him.”
The two started work at Carson Valley Middle School at the same time in 1976.
“We grew up together personally and professionally,” Soderman said. “We shared work, fun, and business together. Charlie was definitely one of the most fun, intelligent, helpful people you could know. He was proud to be an educator. I have worked with many teachers but Charlie was the best teacher I’ve ever known.”
Condron was 4 years old in 1958 when his father Virgil arrived from Wyoming and purchased the South Side Shell Service Station in the S-curve on Highway 395.
He attended Gardnerville Elementary School and graduated from Douglas County High School in 1970. He went on to study teaching at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.
He moved to Australia for two years before returning to teach science at Carson Valley Middle School.
He told then R-C reporter Ray Hagar that he’d missed the Valley, but that he dreamed of returning “down under” one day.
Student Karen Martin said she took science from Condron in the eighth grade.
“I was fortunate enough to have worked for him at my first teaching position at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School,” she said. “I know he was an inspiration to so many students and so many teachers. I know he was the reason so many of my friends went into education.”
He was a member of the Carson Valley Active 20-30 Club. As a member of Toastmasters, he spoke about the importance of using people’s names when talking to them and what it’s like to work with a jerk.
He was named Douglas County’s teacher of the year in 1981.
“He’s really outstanding in every respect,” Middle School Principal Phil McKinnon said at the time. “He’s a true leader and well respected by the entire staff. I’m particularly pleased because he’s a former student of mine.”
There were lots of opportunities in the county’s burgeoning school district for Condron. In 1982, he and John Soderman became the first trainers in the school district’s new professional development center.
“My daughter and her classmates had Charlie when he taught at Carson Valley Middle School,” former co-worker John Dorf said. “He was a phenomenal teacher. They were very comfortable with the math they learned from him all the way through college.”
Dorf said that Condron’s work as a trainer at the first professional development center in the state helped make Douglas a lighthouse district.
“He had an impact not just on increasing the quality of teachers across the district, but it mushroomed to have a tremendous impact on students across the district.”
Condron worked outside of the district when he was named principal at Yerington Elementary School in 1987. He wasn’t gone long, though, returning to take the principal’s position at Gardnerville Elementary School in 1988.
“I never thought I’d sit in Ray Currence’s chair,” he told R-C People Editor Joyce Hollister, referring to the man who was principal when he’d attended the school as a child.
One of the first things he did as principal was develop the school’s first computer lab.
In 1991, he was named principal of the Carson Valley Middle School, taking over for McKinnon, his former teacher. When Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School was built in 1994, he became its first principal.
After serving at Pau-Wa-Lu for six years, Condron hired on as principal at Douglas High School in 2000. In 2001, he was named K-12 administrator of the year by the University of Nevada, Reno. Condron ran the high school for two years before resigning in 2002.
Eight years later, Condron resurfaced in the political arena, winning a seat on the Minden Town Board in 2010. He served as chairman of the board in 2013. He also served as a deputy federal water master of the East Fork Water District after Julian Larrouy retired in 2012.
After winning a second term on the Minden Town Board in 2014, Condron resigned in 2015.