Saville Middle School, in the northwest part of the Las Vegas Valley, is a special place.
The middle school was dedicated to Anthony Saville, Ed.D., in May 2005, in honor of his work as an educator and advocate for education in Southern Nevada. Thus, even after his death in 2011, the school carries a legacy on the importance and impact of education Saville had in the Las Vegas community.
“It is important for the children and their families to understand that this was not a politician who got his name on a building but a person who came from education and cared about it very much,” said Saville’s wife of 56 years, Joy Saville.
Education was his life, as Saville and his wife moved to Las Vegas in 1967 to oversee the growth of the UNLV College of Education, previously known as the Nevada Southern School of Education. Saville became the founding dean of the college and served as administrator and professor until 1998.
According to his wife, a number of people took courses from him and learned his techniques as an educator. Because of it, Saville was an inspiration to his students.
“He was an excellent teacher,” said Nevada System of Higher Education Regent Jack Lund Schofield, who was a student of Saville’s at UNLV while pursuing his doctorate in education in the 1990s. “He got us involved and got us thinking. We learned so much from him.”
Schofield said it was obvious Saville had a passion for education because he worked tirelessly to improve upon a variety of teaching methodologies, becoming a specialist in areas relating to teacher stress management and classroom conflict management.
“He understood how the classroom worked and had a very unique approach to certain things,” Joy Saville said. “Teachers inherently have to deal with stress on a constant basis, so he developed a seminar to help teachers deal with stress in the classroom.”
Schofield said Saville was a great teacher because he conveyed his techniques, which were important to learn as an educator and school administrator.
“I taught school and was an administrator for 48 years by the time I took his classes, but I still learned from him and his methods,” Schofield said. “Yet, I think probably one of the most important things he taught me was to be nice to all people.”
Schofield said Saville was not a challenging person to deal with, and his impact as an educator has much to do with him being approachable.
“Every teacher leaves something behind when they teach, and Tony left his principles of being nice to people,” he said. “As a teacher and a person, that is very important, and his legacy has become a big part of our lives because of the impact that he made on us.”
“There is a special opportunity that one has when one works with other people,” Joy Saville said. “If you are a teacher, whether it is a teacher in a middle school or kindergarten, or training doctoral students, you are doing that in order to help people learn, and in the case of Tony, he helped his students learn to teach.”
She added Saville was a man who cared about teaching so much he was friendly and kind to everyone, which made people like him and want to learn from him.
“After having the school named after him, he would show up at the school just to say good morning, visit classrooms and even attend basketball games,” she said. “As the youngsters would see him across the walkway, they would greet him almost as if they were his grandchildren. The school and the people there really were almost like part of our family.”
According to Joy Saville, part of her husband’s legacy is how much he enjoyed life and people.
Schofield added that the most important thing about Saville was that he had the ability to make people enjoy being around him because he made a long-lasting impression on those who knew him.
“I am so glad that the school is named after him,” Schofield said. “He cared so much about kids and people and learning. That school is a testament to him and a real gift to the Las Vegas community.”
Joy Saville said that even after all the honors and commendations her husband received while alive, she thinks the most important to him was having a middle school named for him.
“How he was and who he was as an educator spoke a lot about the complexities of him as a person,” she said. “I am certain that the naming of the middle school after him was really something very special to him.”
Schofield said, “I read once that the only thing we take with us when we die is what we gave away, and Tony gave so much of himself as a person and educator. So if we, as educators, can accomplish what he did in allowing people to get to know us and want to be like us, then we have accomplished a lot in life, and that’s the legacy that Tony left.”
Contact reporter Maria Agreda at email@example.com or on twitter at @mjfagre.