More than 300 parents and other community members turned out Wednesday to welcome new school system CEO Kevin Maxwell at Crossland High School, the same Temple Hills-based school where Maxwell first taught from 1978 to 1984.
“He’s someone who knows the culture. He’s invested here. He started here, and he’s moved around throughout the county,” said Sheila Campbell of Fort Washington, a grandmother of five, four of whom will be attending the new Avalon Elementary School in Temple Hills, due to open this year.
“I’m very excited about his selection. Because once you know the culture here, you don’t forget it,” Campbell said.
The theme of returning home was echoed in County Executive Rushern L. Baker’s remarks, when he said Maxwell’s hiring marks a turnaround in the trend of highly qualified education professionals leaving Prince George’s for positions in other counties.
“You may come and take our teachers, you may come and take our principals, but we’re taking them back,” Baker said.
Maxwell said, “There are a good number of people who used to work here who are reaching out right now, to say they’re interested in coming back.”
Maxwell, a product of the Prince George’s County Public Schools system, worked for 22 years in Prince George’s County as a teacher, administrator and principal, before leaving in 2000 to take a position in Montgomery County.
For the past seven years, Maxwell has served as superintendent of Anne Arundel County Public Schools, but has continued to reside in Bowie.
Maxwell spoke with each person who waited in line to meet him during the two-hour meet-and-greet.
Birgitt Brevard, PGCPS community outreach and engagement specialist, said that no head count had been taken, but estimated that at least 300 people attended the event.
“My kids are in the school system, and I would like to meet our leaders,” said Fatima Wilkerson of Clinton, a mother of four children, three of whom attend James Ryder Randall Elementary School in Clinton. “There need to be some big changes to our school system, and I wanted to meet the person who’ll be making those changes.”
Erin Castle of Riverdale came down to Crossland to speak with Maxwell about bullying issues her seven-year-old is facing at her school, Riverdale Elementary.
“I thought I’d come out, welcome him to P.G. County Schools, and also address the issues I have,” said Castle, adding that she found Maxwell to be “very nice, very sociable, and I’m hoping he might be an asset to P.G. County Schools.”
Maxwell said he was overwhelmed by the number of people who showed up to welcome him.
Maxwell said one of the items that was top on his agenda was to “raise the level of achievement for every child that comes through our doors, and we’re going to add programs that are attractive and important to our business community.”
Maxwell added that he wants to work with business leaders “to make sure we are equipping our graduates with the skills they need for the 21st Century.”
There are two more meet-and-greet events planned, although the times and places have not yet been set, said Baker spokesman Barry Hudson.
Maxwell officially starts his new job Aug. 1.