...or welcome to the William Tyson Elementary School home page! We take pride in our lovely school which officially opened on Sept. 5th, 1996. Our school is located at 2801 Richmond Ave. in Anchorage, Alaska. Our student population includes 500+ students from Kindergarten through fifth grades.
William Tyson Elementary is committed to providing a supportive learning environment in which all students may realize their full potential. We foster academic achievement through high expectations and curricular standards of excellence. We value our diversity and respect each individual's uniqueness as we rely on a collaborative partnership with parents and the community.
Reverend William Tyson (1916 - 1993)
William Tyson was born in Kanillik or Akulurak, a small Yupik village near Sheldon's Point located across Norton Sound from Nome. During his childhood, William gathered vegetables and berries from the tundra; fished, hunted, and trapped - every bit of the animals used for eating or clothing; learned to respect the balance of the earth, its season, what it gave and what the Yupik must return.
In 1927 William was sent away to school. Here he was exposed to changes and rules which were not set down by the elders of his home, but he adjusted and would always encourage children not to forget their heritage while living in the modern world.
In 1948, he married claiming that before he was only half a person and his wife made him whole. He and his wife had two sons and five daughters.
In 1976, Chief Tyson was ordained a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. As a deacon, he conducted church services at the Alaska Native Medical Center and correction facilities.
Chief Tyson was an advocate for Natives statewide and fought for the Alaska Native Claims Act (which was passed into law in 1972) and tribal enrollment. He did not hesitate to voice his strong concerns about the survival of his people and the land on which they lived. He was a shareholder for Calista Regional Corporation.
Among his jobs were teaching school and being a postmaster, but his love was keeping Eskimo tradition alive with his dancing, oral history of Native fact and lore, Native crafts, and many more programs to benefit the Native people. He and his wife, Marie, joined the Greatland Traditional Dancers in 1983 after learning that no such group existed for urban students in Anchorage. The Tyson’s brought students and parents together to learn Yupik dances and songs. To date, the dance group has performed throughout Anchorage and such gatherings as the National Indian Education Association Conference. For his many years of involvement, Mr. Tyson was named the "Elitnaurvik Within East Chief" in 1988.
Deacon Tyson received many awards throughout his life for his efforts. He was named Elder of the Year by the Alaska Federation of Natives; and Parent of the Year by the Alaska Native Education Council. A scholarship was named after him by the Johnson O'Malley Program.
Chief Tyson was an important person in the Native and Non-Native Community; a positive role model, a teacher, a leader, an Elder, a parent, and a volunteer. He was fondly referred to as "Grandpa" and never turned down a chance to assist a student. In his many roles, the message he portrayed was to do your best, obtain the tool of an education and live a productive life.
We are pleased to honor Chief William Tyson with our school name.