The World of Education suffered a majorloss this year on January 24 whenMario Paul Gatto II, 55, the beloved, charismatic and progressive Principal at Odyssey Charter High School in Las Vegas, passed away due to COVID-19. Born September 10, 1965in Syracuse, NY to Mario and MaryGatto (both deceased). The familyrelocated to Las Vegas in the late 1970's where Mario graduated fromChaparral HS in1982. He earned aBS in Secondary Education in 1989 and an MS in Education Administration in 1993both from UNLV where he also became an enthusiastic, life-time supporter of UNLV sports. In 1990 hebegan a 30-year career in education,first at Basic HS and ending at OdysseyCharter HS in Las Vegas. In between, he served in the capacity as eithera teacher, Athletic Director, Dean, Assistant Principal or Principalin such places as Las Vegas,Laughlin, Mesquite, and Zephyr Cove. In 2006 he moved his family to Fairbanks, Alaska to serve asprincipal at Ben Eielson J/S HSand at Lathrop HS. While in Alaskahe was honored in 2006 as Alaska'sPrincipal of the Year. Upon returninghome to Las Vegas he became thepopular, progressive, student-supportive principal at Odyssey in 2017. An active member of manycommunity and educational organizations wherever he lived, he also served for many years as the coordinatorof the National Association of Secondary School Principals. An ardent anddedicated educator, he thought being aprincipal was the best position ashe loved being able to advocate forstudents and teachers. As he oncesaid, "There is never a dull moment."Mario was also an ardent animal lover and activist. He and his wife own The Wagging Tail, a pet supply store. A loving husband and father, he issurvived by his wife of 23 years, KimberlyGatto, stepson Layton Rhoden,daughter Lindsay, and sons Taylor andJoshua, as well many friends and his school families at Odyssey Charter HSand in Fairbanks Alaska. A Celebrationof Life will be announced at a future date. No services scheduled.
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Published by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Feb. 14, 2021.