All of Southern Nevada lost a pioneering leader over the weekend with the passing of Thalia Dondero, and The Public Education Foundation lost a dear friend who contributed greatly to public education and the success of our nonprofit organization.
Thalia and her husband Harvey, a teacher who later would become a principal and a central office administrator in the Clark County School District, valued public education. She worked throughout her life to improve its quality, including being active in the PTA and ultimately becoming president of the Clark County and Nevada Parent Teacher Associations.
In 1974, Thalia was the first woman elected to the Clark County Commission. She served 20 years, which included three terms as chair. In 1996, she was elected to the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents.
Thalia was one of the earliest members to serve on The Public Education Foundation’s Board of Directors after it was created in 1991, and she served on the Foundation’s Advisory Board for more than two decades.
In 2006, The Public Education Foundation honored Thalia with its Education Hero Award, which is presented annually to individuals who have made significant civic and charitable contributions improving public education in Southern Nevada.
Thalia never forgot her humble roots, and she was one of the finest public servants to grace Southern Nevada, a bridge-builder who always strove to improve public education and make the Las Vegas Valley a better place to live.