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‘A pioneer’: Namesake of Henderson middle school dead at 87

Updated March 21, 2024 - 5:21 pm

Terry Mannion, a long-time teacher and influential Clark County School District administrator, died Tuesday at 87.

Mannion Middle School, named for Terry and Jack Mannion, announced her death Wednesday on social media.

“Terry was an amazing woman — a dedicated wife, loving mother, and a life long educator,” the school wrote. “Our school will forever be a testament of her wonderful life of 87 years.”

Jack and Terry Mannion met at the University of Utah. They were married in 1957 and moved to Las Vegas in 1961 where they both worked in the Clark County School District.

“She was a special lady,” her husband of 66 years Jack Mannion said Thursday.

The couple’s youngest son Greg Mannion had dinner with his parents on Monday night. During the evening, Greg Mannion said, his mom put her arm around him and asked, “Greg, is there anything that I can do for you?”

He said that question captured who she was as a mom.

“Her family was the most important thing for her,” Greg Mannion said Thursday. “She was a great mother and a great friend.”

Terry Mannion worked at Bridger Jr. High School, Rancho High School, Valley High School and Clark High School before becoming principal in 1974 at Garside Jr. High School.

“She was just so caring,” Jack Mannion said. “Just not to family but to everybody.”

She worked at the district office for more than 15 years as director of secondary education and assistant superintendent of high schools and secondary curriculum.

“I think she was a pioneer for women to get into administrative positions in the school district,” Jack Mannion said.

In a statement, the Clark County School District called Terry Mannion’s contributions to the community “profound and enduring.”

“During her 30-year career, she developed a Distinguished Scholar Program and distance learning programs and spearheaded the computerization of grades, transcripts, and attendance,” the statement read. “We are grateful for Mrs. Mannion’s contributions to CCSD, her many students, and the southern Nevada community. We are confident her memory will continue to inspire educators for generations to come.”

Mannion Middle School Principal Todd Petersen said Terry Mannion worked at the district during a time of growth. He described Mannion and educators like Aldeane Ries, Caroll Johnston and Brian Cram as part of the district’s “greatest generation.”

“That’s that generation of leaders that really took this district from being small, little western district, to being the fifth largest school district in the country,” Petersen said Thursday.

In 2004, after being selected to have a school named after them, the couple found out the school would be located about a mile away from their Henderson home.

“You can’t imagine the feeling,” Jack Mannion said.

Petersen is the second principal in the school’s history and has been principal for the last eight years. He said Jack and Terry were active in the community and present at school event and athletic games.

“So many of our schools are named after people that we don’t know who they are. We don’t know their history,” Petersen said. “I feel like the students here in the first 20 years of Mannion Middle School were able to have the opportunity to get to know Jack and Terry Mannion.”

During his first meeting with the Mannions, Terry told Petersen he hadn’t been on her radar for principal but that she would give him a shot based on the good things she had heard from people she respected.

“She was funny and she was quick and she was really smart,” Petersen said Thursday.

He said the Mannions supported everything the school did but never tried to control the school.

“One of the things that I treasure about my time with Jack and Terry is having that connection to an earlier time that I was not a part of and I always respect and appreciate that,” Petersen said. “A little bit of that history is lost with her passing.”

Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com.

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