CHS Principal Adair will retire at end of school year
Glen Adair considers himself at the pinnacle of his career. Under his watch, Carson High School has expanded its library, built a new ROTC building, and created a high-tech center in conjunction with Western Nevada Community College.
It has also expanded top-of-the-line programs such as the culinary arts and in-house media center.
“Every year has been an absolutely stellar year,” he said. “I’ve almost come to a point where Carson High School doesn’t need a guy like me. I’m not a paper shuffler, I’m a builder.”
Except for a new track and outdoor bathrooms, he doesn’t have much else in mind to build. So he decided to retire this year – ending a 34-year career in education and 12 years as principal of Carson High School.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared,” he confessed. “But I think I’m still relevant. I haven’t lost my edge. I’m healthy. I just need something to chew on. It’s like an adventure.”
Adair, 59, was born in Southern California and raised by alcoholic parents. He credits teachers, coaches and counselors for giving him a chance to succeed.
“The only thing that made sense in my life was school,” he said. “I always felt that if I could even get myself to a point where I had something to give back, that’s what I would do.”
After serving in the U.S. Air Force and working for American Airlines, he decided he had something to give back.
He received his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Northridge, and began teaching in 1969.
“I have not ever, for one moment, regretted going into education,” he said.
Shortly after he began teaching, he was transferred to an inner-city school in Los Angeles. He called the situation “difficult” and “nearly hopeless,” but there was one moment that changed his life: the first time he saw his wife, Kathy, who is now principal of Mark Twain Elementary School.
“I was sitting in the cafeteria, and she walked through the door,” he remembered. “She had on this black, flowered dress and sandals. I thought that’s about the prettiest girl I’d ever seen. I can still see her turning the corner in that cafeteria.”
They were married in 1979, and had sons Ryan and Jedd.
The two left California and moved to Incline Village in 1975. Adair taught and coached football there until 1982.
He left to be principal of Owyhee High, where he stayed for three years.
In 1985, he became principal of Elko High, until he was offered his current job in 1992.
Since then, he has been diagnosed with diabetes, suffered two heart attacks, underwent open-heart surgery, and went through chemotherapy after being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2001.
“I have dedicated a lot of time and some major body parts to this school,” he joked.
During chemotherapy, he didn’t miss a day of work.
“I wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s what kept me going,” he said.
His health problems also brought him to terms with his mortality. “I realized that if I am going to have a new adventure, I better start doing it,” he said. “I don’t know how many more chances I’m going to get.”
Carson School District Superintendent Mary Pierczynski said Adair will be hard to replace.
“Being the principal of a big high school, in a town where there is only one high school, is a very difficult job,” she said. “He’s started a lot of new programs at CHS. He’s done a lot for that school, and he’s done it all for the students.”
Adair said he isn’t sure what his retirement will bring – maybe teaching at a university, maybe private business – but he’s sure it won’t be spent at home watching television.
“Me sitting there watching TV doesn’t help anybody, including me,” he said.
But he’s sure whatever he does, he will miss the career he dedicated nearly a lifetime to.
“In how many jobs do you get to help a kid down the road? In how many jobs do you really get the chance to make this kind of a difference?”