Named for George Washington and opened as a two-room building in 1901. Today, Washington Elementary School is a newly remodeled K-5 school in Tacoma's thriving Proctor District.


Hoyt Classroom

In 1897, Mrs. Carrie Shaw Rice
became the first woman appointed to the Washington State Board of Education. She had been a teacher at Central from it's opening in 1883.

In 1901 the school opened
as a two-room building. Mrs. Carrie Shaw Rice was the principal, and Laura Ostrom was the teacher.

A special event at Washington in 1908
was the visit of Washington State Governor Albert E. Mead. The state's fifth Governor spoke during the program commemorating George Washington's birthday.

Mrs. Carrie Shaw Rice won fame in Tacoma
as author of the first official city poem, "Tacoma, the Rose of the West." The poem was later set to music, and was sung by 1,000 students at the dedication program for Stadium Bowl in 1910.

In 1914 Mrs. Nell Hoyt
founded the Preschool PTA; an idea which spread throughout the nation.

Students were delighted in 1947
when Washington became the first school in Tacoma to have a paved playground. The improvements were financed by the school PTA, the Kiwanis Club, neighboring merchants, and scout leaders.

The dedication of the four room Nell Hoyt School
on Feb. 20, 1959 was another memorable event for students and staff members. The building is located at North 28th and Union Street. The date of the dedication also marked the 80th birthday of Mrs. Hoyt, who attended the ceremony. Shedding a few tears, but with a firm voice, she recounted the early history of the Preschool PTA she had founded in 1914, and how the idea and organization then spread throughout the nation. A large, framed portrait of Mrs. Hoyt was presented by the preschool section of the Tacoma Council of the PTA to the school to hang as a reminder of her leadership in helping secure education for younger children. Her husband, Elwell, who was a Tacoma druggist, was also an ardent advocate for education. He was a School Board member from 1912 to 1918, and was Board president in 1917.

p.e. at hoyt

In 1964 students celebrated the 175th
anniversary of Washington's first inaugural address with another special program. A 50 star American flag that had flown over the United States Capitol was presented to the school by the Masonic Lodge 58. The presentation as made by a former School Board Member, Superior Court Judge, Bartlett Rummer.

In 1984, an annex that once housed
special education students was closed. That year spring enrollment was 361 students. There were 22 full and part-time teachers, and four paraprofessionals. Also, in 1984, the Citizens' Committee for School Facilities Planning recommended that the Washington School building be replaced at it's present location at an estimated cost of $5.8 million. That recommendation was not followed.

In 2001, Washington held it's 100th
birthday celebration. PTA members arranged for the construction of the centennial brick wall in front of the building on the 28th Street side. Community members had the opportunity to purchase a brick, with their name engraved, to be permanently placed in the wall.

Mrs. French served the longest as the school's principal, a total of 15 years (1926-27 through 1940-1941).

Renovation Begins 2013
June 2013 marks the beginning of construction on the Washington remodel. During the 2013-2014 School Year, Washington-Hoyt students are relocated to the former Hunt Middle School "Camp Hunt" while the big renovation takes place.

Grand Re-Opening Fall 2014
Students were back at the newly remodeled building starting with the 2014-2015 school year. Washington holds an Open House for the community on October 10, 2014. The school drops the Hoyt from it's name and is once again "Washington Elementary School."



Washington's current principal
is Mr. Ed Schau. Other principals have included:

Theron Wheeler
Mrs. R.E. Friars
B. Kepner
H. Butler
Mrs. Jennie M. French
Will Fuilford
Trygve J. Blix
Betrum O. Myhre
Alfred A. Actor, Sr.
Myrlin N. Parker
Robert M. Strobe
John Piper
Sandra Rosman
Susan Burstad
Terry Burns
Karen Fynboe
Dr. John Knight