SANFORD — Sanford’s athletic teams will be called the Spartans this fall.

Students on Thursday chose Sanford Spartans as the school’s new mascot name by a decisive margin. Spartans will replace Redskins, a team name and mascot that originated in the 1940s, but one that some American Indians view as derogatory.

Superintendent David Theoharides said students in grades seven through 12 voted Thursday on four potential mascot names, three days after the School Board endorsed all of the names as being acceptable.

Spartans was the top vote getter with 587, while Sanford Pride – a logo depicting three lion heads – finished second with 423 votes. Sanford Stampede and Sanford Cardinals finished third and fourth with 202 and 113 votes.

“The naming of our new mascot comes the day after our Sanford High School boys track and field team won the state championship,” Theoharides said in a statement. “The new mascot becomes part of this new era for Sanford as we move towards a new vision for our school and community.”

At a School Board meeting in May, members voted 4-1 to change the name for Sanford High School’s teams.

They instructed Theoharides and his staff to develop a list of three or four possible names. Students and community members met with school officials, researching hundreds of possibilities before settling on four candidates.

The new name will become effective when classes begin in September.

“The process to select the mascot was designed to be collaborative with input from our students, faculty and community members,” said Sanford Athletic Director Gordie Salls. “With the selection of a new mascot, the Sanford School Department recognizes the importance and influence that a mascot has in building and maintaining school spirit, identity, unity and pride.”

Theoharides said there will be some costs associated with implementing the new mascot name, but he is not certain yet how much that might be.

Logos, for instance, will be placed on the helmets of high school football players and the large S on the high school gym floor will be replaced with the new Spartans logo – a crested helmet.

Theoharides said research done by his staff indicated that no other school system in Maine uses Spartans as its mascot name.

Thornton Academy in Saco uses Trojans as its team name.

Theoharides said the graduating senior class has pledged to provide funds to purchase a costume for the new mascot.