By Fred L. Jones, Jr.
The Tulsa Public School Board unanimously voted to approve the name change of Choteau Elementary to the Wayman Tisdale Fine Arts Academy. Tisdale was an Basketball All American at both Booker T. Washington High School and, Oklahoma University. Tisdale was also an Olympic Gold Medalist on the 1984 Olympic Team and was drafted 2nd in the 1987 NBA Draft, after a very successful NBA career he became a Smooth Jazz recording artist with his first recording “Circumstance” immediately rising to the top of the Smooth Jazz charts
Tisdale recorded eight albums, with the 2001 release Face to Face climbing to No. 1 on Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart. He was awarded the Legacy Tribute Award by the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 2002. In an ESPN internet chat Tisdale said his musical influences included the funk bands of the 1970s. His most recent release (and his final album before his death), Rebound, was written and released after he was diagnosed with cancer.
Tulsa Public School Superintendent Debra Gist stated: “While he was taken from our community much too soon, we are so pleased to be able to celebrate Wayman Tisdale’s memory and legacy by naming one of our schools in his honor. Wayman was known not only for his great talents both on the stage and on the court, but also his relentless positivity, kindness, perseverance, and grace even under the most difficult circumstances. We look forward to welcoming our teachers, children, and families back to school at Wayman Tisdale Fine Arts Academy on August 22.”