Anderson Elementary (1963-2022)
School Mascot: Thunderbirds
School Colors: Red, White, and Blue
School Motto: Students Soar to Success
- 1963-1985 | Jim Cavanaugh
- 1985-1987 | John Havrilek
- 1987-2015 | Shari Merrick
- 2015-2022 | Stacey Stansell
Major Rudolph Anderson, Jr.
Major Rudolph Anderson Jr., an Air Force reconnaissance pilot from Greensville, South Carolina, was the first U-2 pilot to photograph secret missile sites in Cuba. Shot down over that country on October 27, 1962, he was the only American killed during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Anderson Elementary School was named by an Eielson Ceremonies Board to honor this brave flyer.
Beginnings and Changes
This school, which initially housed first and second graders, was built in 1963 on land set aside in a1956 land grant. The construction was deemed necessary to meet the rapidly growing Eielson Air Force Base population. Opening ceremonies took place on January 20, 1964, when twelve classrooms stood ready to serve 303 students. The next year, twelve more classrooms were built and kindergarten was added. Soon thereafter, overcrowding necessitated moving kindergarten and some first grades to a new location aptly named Temprary Village. During the next decade, third grade was added, expanding enrollment to 682 students. Due to safety concerns, the closure of Temporary Village led Gus Zadra, then Eielson Superintendent of Schools, to initiate double shifting to relieve overcrowding. Third grade was moved out of the school in the early 1980s. By the 1989-90 school year, Anderson's student enrollment numbered 454 kindergarten - second grade students.
By the 2022 school year, enrollment at Anderson Elementary had fallen to 253 students. The school district overall had seen declining enrollment over the last decade, and this was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with 2,000 few students than 10 years ago, empty classrooms, and financial pressure, the Board of Education voted in the spring of 2022 to close Anderson Elementary. Most Anderson students were moved over to Crawford Elementary and beginning in the 2022-23 school year, Crawford was renamed Anderson-Crawford Elementary and became a K-5 elementary school.
Source: Fairbanks Area Public Schools, 2004
Major Rudolph Anderson, Jr. circa 1962.
Anderson Elementary, 2004.