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Maxwell welcomed 'home' as Prince George's schools CEO

By Sara Toth, stoth@tribune.com

5:04 PM EDT, June 28, 2013

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Kevin Maxwell grew up in Prince George's County, lives there, went to school there and spent years as a county teacher and principal. Now, after seven years as superintendent of Anne Arundel County Public Schools, he is coming back as the new Chief Executive Officer of Prince George's County Public Schools.

"This is a homecoming for him. He is truly one of our shining sons of Prince George's County," County Executive Rushern Baker III said before a gathered crowd Friday, June 28 at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville. "We are so lucky we can stand here today and welcome back one of our best."

Maxwell, 61, has been superintendent in Anne Arundel County since 2006. Prior to that, he worked in Montgomery County Public Schools from 2000-2006, first as principal at Walter Johnson High School and then as a community superintendent.

Maxwell spent the first 22 years of his career in Prince George's schools, teaching and acting as vice principal and principal at several county schools, including Northwestern High, where he was a chief educational administrator and principal from 1992-2000.

"He has been in every position and gained the necessary experience that our new CEO should have," Baker said. "He has learned every facet of operations along his journey, and he's been successful at every step along the way."

Maxwell's hiring in Prince George's County is the final piece in the overhaul Baker has initiated for the school system there. The Maryland General Assembly approved legislation earlier this year that hands Baker more governance of the county school system, including the power to appoint a CEO, formerly known as superintendent of schools, and appoint three new board members name the board chair and vice-chair.

On June 1, Baker announced the appointment of Segun Eubanks as the new board chairman. The appointments of board member Beverly Anderson and Daniel Kaufman followed less than three weeks later. Curtis Valentine also joined the board as the council's appointee.

After Friday's press conference, Eubanks said Maxwell's contract was still being finalized, but could be signed within a couple of weeks. Eubanks said the contract would likely be for four years.

Maxwell replaces Alvin Crawley, who has served as interim superintendent since last fall, when he took the reins from William Hite who left Prince George's schools to take the top job for Philadelphia schools. Maxwell will be the eighth leader the school system has had in the past 14 years.

Baker thanked Crawley, who didn't attend the announcement Friday, for his professionalism and "for being a shining example of what we want our children and adults to be."

A host of elected officials were on hand for Baker's announcement, including Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, a candidate for governor in the 2014 race, who commended Baker on Maxwell's selection.

"He is the right choice at the right time to lead Prince George's County Public Schools to higher heights," Brown said. "He is an outstanding pick after a credible process."

Crawley had been one of three finalists in the board's year-long superintendent search, which was disrupted during Baker's takeover, and all three candidates, including Crawley, withdrew their names from contention.

Maxwell was chosen by Baker from three finalists put forth by a committee established by Gov. Martin O'Malley, with the help of the same search firm — Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates — as the board used last year.

Maxwell said there were items that need to be addressed in Prince George's, like a persisting achievement gap, and that since schools "are the centerpiece of our community," the entire community had to work together to improve the system.

"You get to excellence through improvement, through change and through hard work," he said. "We need all of our children to be successful."