For Kevin Maxwell, the recent call from County Executive Rushern Baker III was both a summons to run Prince George’s County’s public school system and an invitation to come home.
“This is my home,” said Maxwell, the newly appointed superintendent for Prince George’s County Schools. “I never left because this is my home.”
Although he was born in Northern Virginia, Maxwell has always lived in the Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C. He attended Kentland Elementary, Kent Junior High and Bladensburg High School, all in Prince George’s County.
And he remained in the county for most of his post-secondary education, earning his Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park.
He didn’t go far from home for his terminal degree, either, earning his doctorate in language literacy and culture from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Being a White male in a predominately-Black school system is overshadowed by his status as a lifelong county resident, he said.
So when Baker introduced Maxwell at a June 28 press conference at Northwestern High School where he was principal for four years, Baker was introducing someone who knows the lay of the land.
“This is the school that Dr. Maxwell built. That is the type of innovation we want and need in P.G. County,” Baker said.
The county executive said he drew praise for picking a local person who knows the county. Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, who attended the Baker press conference, said “He is certainly the right choice at the right time.”
Brown wasn’t the only lawmaker who backed the choice, the county executive said, noting his choice was applauded by another legislator, too. “ ‘I was reluctant on giving you the authority of choosing the new CEO. Today you have renewed my faith in you making the right choice,’ ” Baker said the unnamed legislator told him.
Maxwell’s teaching career got underway in the county, too, with time spent at both Crossland and Central high schools just after he earned his undergraduate degree. He then became a principal in the Montgomery County School System. From there he became superintendent of Anne Arundel County for seven years.
Maxwell’s twin daughters, from his first marriage, graduated from Anne Arundel County. However, his son and youngest daughter graduated from Bowie High School in Prince George’s County.
Maxwell knows this is going to be a hard task and very competitive with other counties and states. Maxwell said, “If you don’t know me, I am very competitive. I also don’t like losing.”