Tuesday, July 9, 2013

County, State Leaders Welcome New Prince George's Schools Chief

Homecoming is the theme for Prince George's County Public Schools new CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell.

Posted by Michael Theis (Editor), June 28, 2013 at 05:29 pm

Originally posted at 4:04 p.m., June 28 - Before a standing room-only crowd gathered in an atrium at Northwestern High School, County Executive Rushern Baker introduced new Prince George's County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell with a simple message:

"Welcome home," said Baker, to applause. "Dr. Kevin Maxwell may not have started in the mailroom, but he did start in the classroom…he has learned every facet of school system operations in his journey, a journey which brings him back to Prince George's County."

Indeed, this is something of a homecoming for Maxwell, who graduated from Bladensburg High School in 1969, earned his bachelors and masters degrees in education from the University of Maryland and spent 22 years working in the Prince George's County public school system—first as a teacher, then a school administrator—before moving on to Montgomery County. Eventually he ended up in Anne Arundel County, where he is leaving his current post as superintendent after more than six years.

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown praised Baker's selection of Maxwell to take on the county school system.

"This is the right choice at the right time to lead the Prince George's County school system to new heights," Brown said.

The location of the announcement, Northwestern High School, is also tied into Maxwell's history. He served as principal of the Hyattsville high school for eight years, during which time he oversaw the demolition of the school's old facility in 2000. He left the school for Montgomery County two months before the campus opened in its current, more modern form.

"This is the school that Dr. Maxwell built," Baker said. "He took a different approach because he had a vision to not just tear down a school, but build it."

Maxwell urged county residents to get involved in working to improve the school system.

"I cannot do this by myself. I need every one of you," he said to the crowd. "For every one of you who asks what are you going to do, I turn around and ask what are you going to do to help?"

He also said that the school system needs to make its case to recruit parents and students who, for whatever reason, have decided not to enroll.

"We have to make sure that those people who are not seeing Prince George's County Public Schools as their choice—that we are there for them too," said Maxwell. "There has to be the right programming, the right things that people are interested in."

In a press conference after the announcement, Maxwell said that he was committed to slowing the "revolving door" in the county school administration which sees experienced, high-ranking faculty and staff leaving PGCPS for other opportunities.

"The revolving door is a real problem," he said. "You can't keep starting and stopping, starting and stopping."

Maxwell said that he had no intention of making his new post a short term one.

"I'm here for the long haul," he said. "I've lived here my whole life, I certainly expect to have my contract renewed in four years, and I expect to be here a good while."

Correction - This article has been updated. An earlier version incorrectly listed the year the original Northwestern High School was demolished.

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