FAST BACKWARD: Davao’s division superintendents

The enactment of Act No. 2408 on June 23, 1914, establishes the Department of Mindanao and Sulu, the replacement of the Moro Province. This development led to the opening of the first public schools under the department, and the appointment of division superintendents of schools for the provinces of Davao, Lanao, Agusan, Bukidnon, Sulu, Zamboanga, and Cotabato.

The first department superintendent, appointed in 1915, was Glenn W. Caulkins. Assigned to handle early on the Davao assignment was W. Ernest Crowe who was appointed in 1916 but left the service the following year under the Osmeña Retirement Act; he was replaced by Henry C. Stanton as acting division superintendent.

When Carl M. Moore replaced Caulkins, Vernon D. Gibson was installed in an acting capacity before Stanton took over as full-fledged superintendent. In 1920, John J. Heffington replaced Moore as superintendent after the administrative setup of schools his predecessors implemented was abolished.

Crowe joined the government on July 24, 1909, and was first assigned as a teacher in Iloilo. Six years later, he became the principal of Zamboanga. The following year, he was appointed as the division superintendent of schools of Davao Province.

Stanton, meanwhile, joined the civil service on July 23, 1910, as a teacher. On June 11, 1912, he was chosen justice of the peace of the town of Jolo and his appointment was confirmed on October 21 that year. As an educator, he quickly rose from the ranks and became the division superintendent of schools of Davao; he resigned from the position on June 23, 1919.

Gibson first joined the bureaucracy as an examiner of the Appraisers’ Division of the Office of the Insular Deputy Collector of Customs on December 30, 1903. His appointment was released on February 5, 1904. In 1920, during the watch of Heffington as acting department superintendent, he returned to Davao as acting division superintendent until August 4, 1922, before he left on a furlough to the United States.

Upon his return, he became acting assistant to the Superintendent of Privates Schools in 1923. He was replaced by James E. McCall, who assumed as acting Davao superintendent in 1920. That same year, Gibson returned to reclaim his old position.

McCall, then supervising teacher in Cotabato Province in 1916, was assigned as acting assistant to the Superintendent of Private Schools in 1923 after his Davao stint and later became Cotabato superintendent from 1924 to 1926. After returning from a U.S. leave on October 31, 1926, he was assigned as division superintendent of Ilocos Norte the following year and served the post until 1929. By 1935, he was moved to Cavite. After the war, he returned to the country as chief of the Philippine mission of the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF).

James M. Swartz took over the Davao superintendency in 1924 but was moved a year later to Capiz to assume the same position. Milburn A. Maxey succeeded in Davao in 1925 in an acting capacity and was elevated to full-fledged status the following year.

Swartz joined the education bureau on July 3, 1911. In 1920, he was assigned in Misamis as acting superintendent, serving the post until the next year. In 1922, he was transferred to Camarines where he was posted until September 4, 1923, when he took a leave for the US. After his Davao and Capiz assignments, he became division superintendent in Ilocos Sur in 1926. On November 16, 1927, he resigned from the bureau to avail of the retirement plan under Act 2589.

Maxey, then supervising teacher of Baganga, Davao Oriental, was promoted in 1925 to supervising teacher-at-large in order to assume as acting division superintendent of schools of Davao. He was promoted to a full-fledged status a year later. After his Davao stint, he moved to Surigao, where he was the last American division superintendent of schools (1931-35) before the establishment of the Commonwealth.

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