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William R. Anton Elementary (formerly Hammel Elementary) is a school for students in Transitional kindergarten through sixth grade.  It features newer classrooms, an outdoor play field and an underground parking structure. The school opened in September 2009. William R. Anton Elementary replaced the nearby 92-year-old Hammel Street Elementary School, which now serves as the site for Esteban Torres High school. 

William R. “Bill” Antón, a product of Eastside schools became the first Latino superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District.

Antón was born in El Paso on July 22, 1924, to Roque Antón, a Mexican banker who had fled that country’s revolution, and his wife, Luisa.

The family moved to East Los Angeles when Antón was 5, and his father and older siblings started an electrical shop. All the Antón children went to college and several earned doctorates.

The sixth of 10 children, Antón graduated from Garfield High School in 1942. He was drafted to the army in 1942. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1952 and a master’s in 1954, both at Cal State Los Angeles.

In 1952, he began teaching at Rowan Elementary in East Los Angeles, slowly and steadily earning promotions. Antón helped develop the district’s Title 1 program, at the time a new effort to help low-income and minority students. Antón put students and parents first -- and especially looked out for minority children in a school system that did not always have high expectations for them.

Antón became superintendent from July 1990- September 1992.  At the superintendent’s annual address to administrators that fall, Antón received a standing ovation. They admired his fair, straightforward though demanding approach. Antón’s priorities included relations with parents. He treated parents as equals. Antón remained superintendent only 26 months, retiring at 68 in September 1992.

He died on July 30, 2009 at the age of 85.


(source: Los Angeles Times, Howard Blume)