San Antonio Middle School renamed in honor of 1st principal

Francisco Mendiola Sablan, seated second right, poses with family and friends after Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog signed a bill renaming San Antonio Middle School to Francisco Mendiola Sablan Middle School last week at the Governor’s Office conference room. (Contributed Photo)

Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog signed House Bill 19-106 into Public Law 19-55 to rename San Antonio Middle School to Francisco Mendiola Sablan Middle School in honor of the service and commitment to education as the school’s first principal.

Sablan was SAES’ first ever principal and he held the post from 1971 to 1985. Prior to becoming principal of the San Antonio school, he taught at the Chalan Kanoa School and also served as teacher education supervisor assistant.

He also had a stint as a lawmaker in the Mariana Island District Legislature from 1966 to 1968. After his two-year service at the district congress, Sablan worked as director of Personnel Services for the Department of Education from 1968 to 1971. He returned to the same position after retiring from SAES from 1985 to 1987.

His educational background is as follows: Fingley School (now William S. Reyes Elementary School) from 1945 to 1952; Saipan Intermediate School from 1952 to 1955; Pacific Island Central School in Truk Islands (through a scholarship from the U.S. Navy) from 1955 to 1958; and extension courses at the University of Guam and San Jose State University.

Prior to taking the principal post at SAES, Sablan received a scholarship to attend the University of Hawaii’s School Administration for Principalship.

Sablan is married to Ana Palacios Sablan and the couple has eight children.

Board of Education chair Herman Guerrero expressed his gratitude to Sablan and noted the recognition as one way to show appreciation for the many educators in the Commonwealth. In 15 days, the Public School System will erect a new sign in time for the beginning of the school year. (PR)

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