School Namesake

Neil C. Twitchell



Neil C Twitchell was born and grew up in Springdale, Utah, although his family did live in Delamar, Nevada for four years at the end of the Great Depression. He earned his Bachelor's Degree from the College of Southern Utah (now Southern Utah University) and his Master's of Education Degree at the University of Nevada in Reno.

After his release from the Army in 1956, Neil and Wanda moved to Henderson, where he began teaching sixth grade at the Townsite School (on the site of the new City Hall parking garage). He taught sixth grade for four years, during which time he worked on his Master's Degree, taking evening and summer classes at the fledgling UNLV and at the UNR.

In 1960 he was appointed teaching principal of the Helen J. Stewart School (now Biltmore School). He taught in a combination 1st-2nd grade classroom in the mornings, and supervised the school in the afternoon. He said if he ever went back into the classroom, he would want to teach first or second grade.

In 1962, he opened the J.M. Ullom School. The school opened with five permanent substitute teachers. During the next nine years he built an exceptional staff. With that staff, he pioneered the mainstreaming concept in special education and it was functional ten years before federal law mandated it. To all who challenged the concept, he would ask, "How would you feel if you were a student in a self-contained special education classroom and were asked the grade you were in? You would probably hang your head and not answer."

He became the first principal of the Gene Ward School in 1971 and transferred to the Gordon McCaw School in Henderson in 1978. He retired from that school in 1987. In each school, exceptional staffs were developed.

Neil Twitchell loved children and spent much time on the playground and in the classrooms with them. He was a dedicated educator who truly made a difference with students, staff, and parents. During his career as an elementary school principal, he was committed to the implementation of programs that advocated student and teacher learning.

During his professional life, he served in every elected position in the Clark County and State of Nevada Elementary Principal's Associations and the Clark County Association of School Administrators. He also served on the board of the Nevada Association of School Administrators and is a life member of the Nevada P.T.A. He was chairman of the first negotiating committee for the Clark County School Administrators and negotiated their first contract in 1979. He was recognized by his peers as Nevada Elementary Principal of the Year 1980.

Mr. Twitchell has been involved in civic and church activities. He served more than 13 years on the Henderson City Planning Commission (chairman 6 years), Chairman of the Henderson All America City Committee, member of the board of the Henderson Association for Senior Citizen Housing and the Board of Commissioners of the Clark County Housing Authority. For the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he has served as Stake President, Regional Representative, Mission President in India, and Las Vegas Temple President.

Neil has said the Twitchell School should be named after his wife, Wanda. It is she who has been the nurturing and loving support for all he has done. She has taught and guided their children and grandchildren, and has been an inspiration to him throughout their lives. He is deeply grateful for the support of family members and friends who nominated him for the honor of having a school named the Neil C Twitchell Elementary School.