Dawson's Mission, Core Beliefs & History

Our Mission
The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain is a nurturing learning community for boys and girls in preschool through grade eight that challenges students to achieve excellence in mind, body and character.



Our Vision
Our graduates will be ready to achieve their individual potential, savor life and meet the challenges of the world.

Dawson's Diversity Statement

The distinct Dawson learning environment is reflective of the diverse community that surrounds us. The celebration of differences drives the Dawson mission and unifies the school-wide focus of self and social awareness. Students benefit from working with and learning from other students and teachers who are varied in learning styles, socioeconomic backgrounds, race, religions, ideology, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, culture and ethnicity. We are committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming learning community.

Core Beliefs

Teaching & Learning

  • Dawson graduates are complex problem solvers and collaborators; empathetic, flexible, and innovative; and critical thinkers who develop into resilient lifelong learners and leaders.  
  • Through choice and reflection, Dawson students are active agents and advocates for their learning experience.
  • A Dawson education facilitates deeper learning because students approach tasks from multiple perspectives, and draw connections across disciplines and the outside world. 
  • Within collaboration and healthy competition, students find value in both successes and failures. 
  • Teachers best engage and motivate students through encouragement, nurturing, inspiration and inquiry. 
  • We recognize students learn at different paces and in different ways, and we differentiate instruction accordingly. 
  • We continually reevaluate the curriculum for relevance, current methodologies, quality of intellectual content and intrinsic interest. 
  • We are a true learning community. Dawson’s faculty and administrators model lifelong learning by investing in educational best practices, advances in technology and relevant world development. 

The Dawson Community

  • We choose to be part of the Dawson community because we share in the vision and values of the Dawson educational experience.
  • We find strength in our diversity and commit to learning from each other. 
  • Although families are the primary educators of their children, student achievement throughout life is increased when the School and families work together as partners. 
  • Each of us is a model for the rest of us; each of us interacts with integrity and cares for the rest of us.

The World

  • With an appreciation of the sacrifices others have made for freedom and social justice, our students learn what it means to be engaged and contributing global citizens. Our students commit themselves to the responsibility of being agents of positive change. 
  • Global citizens investigate root causes, analyze solutions, connect with people in need and become empowered activists in the problem-solving process. 
  • As members of the desert environment, we strive to foster an awareness of and responsibility for preservation and sustainability of our natural resources. 

List of 2 items.

  • Our History

    In 1996, the Alexander Dawson Foundation decided to open a school in the Las Vegas Valley, the Foundation’s home for more than 30 years. Located on a 33-acre campus in the beautiful community of Summerlin, the Alexander Dawson Foundation spent $58 million for the land, facilities, the interest expenses on the construction bonds, and budget support during the School’s early years. We broke ground in 1999 and The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain opened on September 6, 2000, with over 150 students from kindergarten through fifth grade.

    From 2001-2003, the School expanded by adding sixth, seventh and eighth grades to the curriculum. A three-year-old preschool curriculum was added in 2009.
  • About the Founder of the Alexander Dawson Foundation

    G.B. “Jerry” Henderson was a philanthropist and entrepreneur, fascinated by technology, education, and innovation. He founded the Alexander Dawson Foundation in 1960 to provide students with access to the highest quality of education in the United States.

    Girard Brown Henderson was born on February 25, 1905 in Brooklyn, New York, the younger son of Alexander Dawson Henderson, Sr. and Ella Brown Henderson. Alexander Dawson Henderson was vice president and treasurer of the fledgling California Perfume Company which after surviving the Great Depression, eventually went public in 1945, changing its name to Avon Products, Inc.

    Upon graduating from a prep school (the Storm King School) in upstate New York, Jerry was accepted to Dartmouth University, but he left in the middle of his freshman year. Jerry wrote that the headmaster of his prep school was better at getting graduates into the Ivy League than the school was at preparing graduates to succeed in college and the workforce. He said it was a bitter disappointment. Disenchanted with higher education, Jerry went to work as, in his words, a shipping clerk for a silk company, standing eight hours a day, cutting and filling orders for clothing manufacturers.

    Thankfully, Jerry had an entrepreneurial spirit that drove him to pursue a wide range of interests. He owned a crab meat processing plant in Beaufort, South Carolina; a cable television company in Carmel, California; a sailboat manufacturer in Nevada; a Swiss bank in Zurich; a 30,000-acre sheep and cattle station in New Zealand; and the corporate jet manufacturer, Gulfstream American Aviation.

    In 1957 Jerry established the Alexander Dawson Foundation, naming it for his father and dedicating it to children’s education. His goal was to inspire children to not just learn, but to be responsible citizens who would led purposeful lives, to counter the lack of inspiration he experienced through his own educational journey. Although Jerry was not an educator, as in so many other things, Jerry was ahead of his time. Concepts that have come into the mainstream today were central to the Alexander Dawson Foundation’s mission and philosophy since its inception. Educating the whole child was key to inspiring life-long learners who took personal responsibility for their future and the future of their community. Long before it was popular, Jerry understood that the best way to learn something is to engage in an activity that requires the skill or knowledge that one wants to learn. Today this idea goes by different names, active learning or experiential education.

    His legacy could be measured in companies started and in dollars earned, but more importantly, it can be measured in the lives of those who knew him, the people he worked with, and most importantly the students that have been the beneficiaries of the Alexander Dawson Foundation.

The Alexander Dawson School

Welcome to The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain! Located in Summerlin, a suburb of Las Vegas, Nevada, The Alexander Dawson School is a non-sectarian, non-profit school offering students in preschool through eighth grade an inspired and meaningful education. Students achieve their individual potential while savoring life and meeting the challenges of the world.