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Meet Your Neighbor: Shari Exber-Scheele

Is there a mentor in your life?  For many of us, it is the influence of these special people that are responsible for pushing us toward a path that we might not have found on our own.   Resident Shari Exber-Scheele is a Las Vegas native that credits Principal Rick Watson for encouraging her to become the best possible teacher.  Mentoring comes full circle as Exber-Scheele is also the inspiration for many of the students she has taught throughout her twenty-year career as an elementary school teacher in the Clark County School District.

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By: Callie Thomas

Shari was born and raised in Las Vegas, and it was a bit ironic that her first teaching assignment (as a student teacher) was at Howard Wasden Elementary, the school she attended as a child. After teaching at a variety of schools throughout the district, she was ready for a new challenge and, as sad as it was to leave the classroom, Exber-Scheele found a new role within our local education system that has become even more rewarding.

For the last decade Shari has continued to make sure all children in our community receive the very best public education as the Senior Vice President of Development and Community Relations for The Public Education Foundation.  She is responsible for raising awareness and funding for the nonprofit organization that supports education reform and initiatives to improve public education. We talked with Shari about her passion for putting opportunities within reach of our children to obtain higher education, as well as influencers within her own education and career, and why giving back is a necessity for the future growth of the community.

You’ve made a lifetime commitment to improving public education.  Who was your mentor and how did they make a difference?

“I worked for an amazing principal (Rick Watson), whom I looked up to and he helped me to be the best teacher I could be.  I was fortunate to follow him, teaching at the schools he led.  By 2003, I knew there was something bigger out there in the community for me to do that was still in the public education arena.  That’s when I took a leave of absence from teaching and began my ‘new’ career at The Public Education Foundation.”

What are your current projects through the Foundation?

“We’re in the midst of our annual Giving With Purpose fundraising campaign to support our vital initiatives, including those that provide college scholarships, promote early childhood learning and family literacy, and grow the leadership capacity of education administrators through our Leadership Institute of Nevada.”

Any experiences through your efforts with the Foundation you’d like to share?

“It’s so rewarding to see children from all parts of Southern Nevada benefit from our programs, including the Scholarship Program, which provides hundreds of students with the opportunity to seek higher education annually.  I still stay in touch with former students and their parents from my teaching days and have the opportunity to get them involved by becoming donors and volunteers.”

Why is it so important to give back to the community?

“It is gratifying to keep children growing and thriving in Las Vegas.  It is heartening to see my colleagues and former students in the workforce being successful and knowing I’m making a difference in the lives of so many children.”

Of your many accomplishments, what are you most proud to have achieved?

“As a mother, I’m so proud of my own children, Hilary and Zachary.  Just as I was, they’re both products of the public education system in Clark County and they’re college graduates and have already embarked on successful careers.”

Is there any specific inspiration you live by?

 “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

For more information about The Public Education Foundation, visit thepef.org or call

(702) 799-1042.  Follow the Foundation on Twitter @ThePEFoundation.

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