Venerable Virginia City teacher to retire |

Venerable Virginia City teacher to retire

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Hugh Gallagher Elementary School kindergartner Cierra Frisby, 5, spells in Connie Carlson's class on March 13. Carlson is retiring after 29 years of teaching in Virginia City.

VIRGINIA CITY – When school board member Esther Schouten announced the next item on the agenda at a recent meeting, a group of 30 or so parents booed.

Connie Carlson, longtime elementary school teacher for the Storey County School District, had requested an early retirement.

“Nooooo,” came a chorus from the parents.

“According to the parents, former students and staff, you’ve done a wonderful job,” said board member Chris Miller. “I can see why they’re all saying no.”

Carlson teaches kindergarten at Hugh Gallagher Elementary School.

“She is the most incredible teacher Storey County ever had,” said Kim Hames, whose child is in Carlson’s class. “The kids are reading and writing complete sentences in her class.”

Hames also advised people not to walk into Carlson’s classroom unless they are prepared to be put to work.

Storey County School Superintendent Rob Slaby said he would rather have Carlson stay as well, but that the board policy allows the district to buy out two years of a teacher’s contract, and she was only asking for one.

After 29 years teaching kindergarten through fifth grades, Carlson said she planned to spend more time running the Silver Queen Hotel in Virginia City, which she owns with her father, Charles, helping out her significant other, Dr. Fred Fricke, in his medical practice and preparing for the impending birth of two grandchildren.

She has taught since Hugh Gallagher Elementary School was first built.

“The school is turning 30 years old and I started here the first year,” she said.

She has taught her whole career in Storey County, and as a child she attended school in Virginia City.

She attended from fifth grade through high school in the building that houses the Virginia City Middle School, which at that time included all grades.

The older students did their share of the school’s duties in those days, she said.

“We were the secretary and the substitute teachers,” she said. “We did everything.”

Carlson has spent most of her career teaching kindergarten, both at Hugh Gallagher and Hillside, in the north end of the county.

When Schouten called for a motion, at first there was silence. Then the motion came, then a second, and Carlson got her early retirement.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.