Now that Gerald Irons has retired from the board of trustees at Conroe Independent School District, he has time on his hands. Or not.
- Golden Helmet award
- Oakland Raiders Legend
- Ten Outstanding People in the World Osaka, Japan, Junior Chamber of Commerce
- Original Hometown Heroes family – The Woodlands
- Longest-serving trustee at Conroe ISD
- Graduate of University of Maryland with a degree in Business Administration
- Earned Master’s of Business Administra- tion from the University of Chicago
- Gerald D. Irons Junior High School - Conroe ISD; opening August 2012
- Married to Myrna Irons 42 years
“I’ve got a lot of honey-do’s,” Irons said. “I’ve got to get to that list.”
Not to mention that Irons is Senior Vice President of business development at The Woodlands Development Company, where he has been working for 30 years.
Irons was recently recognized by The Woodlands Township for his service to Conroe ISD, where over the course of 22 years he served as a trustee, president, past president and secretary of the board.
During his tenure, Irons helped the board pass six major bonds that financed 29 new school campuses throughout the district; the Texas Education Agency accountability rating for Conroe ISD improved from Acceptable to Exemplary, and the district grew to more than 51,000 students, making it the 18th largest in the state.
Even at a young age, Irons established a habit of service and achievement. Irons earned a full scholarship to the University of Maryland, where he was vice president of the student government, captain of the Terrapin football team and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. After graduating with a degree in business administration, Irons turned pro in football, playing 10 years with the Oakland Raiders and the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League before retiring in 1980.
While with the Browns, Irons attended John Marshall Law School at night, and after retiring from the NFL, earned a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Chicago.
Irons has been married to his high school sweetheart, Myrna, for 42 years. They have three sons, each of whom earned full football scholarships to prestigious universities after graduating from McCullough High School in The Woodlands.
Irons is a founding member and elder at Impact Church of The Woodlands.
“I’ve been blessed to accomplish all of these things,” Irons said. “The recognition makes me feel great, but I don’t do it for that. I do it because it’s the right thing to do. Because I have a heart for people. Because that’s how I was raised.”
Irons grew up in Gary, Ind., the youngest of seven children. His greatest mentors then were his parents, Sycbrathia and Earmon Irons, who taught him to be honest, treat others right and believe the most in things that seem impossible to others.
That’s why when his seventh grade teacher asked for students to stand up one by one and say what they wanted to be when they grew up, Irons recited a list.
“I’m a dreamer,” Irons said. “I wanted to be so many things.”
Irons proudly reported he wanted to be a professional football player. The teacher thanked him, ready to move on to the next student.
“I said ‘oh no, I’m not finished’,” Irons said. “I want to go to law school. I want to get married, have children … I went on to list about five things.”
The teacher told him it would take him five lifetimes to do all of those things. His classmates laughed at him.
“Even though I was the largest one in my class, I felt about two inches tall,” Irons said.
When Irons told his parents what happened, they saw it as a teachable moment.
“They said ‘don’t ever let anybody tell you what you can’t do. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything,’” Irons said. “They restored my faith and confidence. The next day, when I walked into class, I felt 7 feet tall.”
He has gone on to to do all of the things he told his teacher he would accomplish.
“Your word and your character are the most important things anyone can ever have,” Irons said. “But most people talk before they listen. I like to listen before I speak. That’s what I’ve learned.”