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New PG school chief ready to tackle district's challenges

Friday - 6/28/2013, 4:01pm  ET

Warm reception for new school leader

Kate Ryan, WTOP

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WASHINGTON - As he takes the reins of one of the second largest school systems in Maryland, Prince George's new school chief asked parents what they will do to help him turn the struggling schools around.

Kevin Maxwell was officially appointed to lead the school system Friday during an event at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, where Maxwell once served as principal.

Maxwell leaves his post as superintendent of Anne Arundel County Public Schools to take over the beleaguered school system. He comes with a reputation as a bridge-builder and a hands-on administrator who kick-started several successful programs in Anne Arundel.

County Executive Rushern Baker selected Maxwell as the finishing touch on the overhaul of the school system that started with legislation giving Baker more authority over the schools, including the the power to appoint several school board members.

Maxwell isn't fazed by the high expectations that come with the job of turning around a low performing school system.

"I would rather set the bar high and fall short than to undersell what the opportunities are," Maxwell said.

He said that he's very competitive and challenged parents to step up as well. He also promised to visit each school during his first year.

Maxwell becomes the eighth chief to lead the district in 14 years. His official title will be chief executive officer.

In addition to heading Anne Arundel County's school system, Maxwell has held top slots in Montgomery County and has taught in Prince George's.

Maxwell replaces William R. Hite Jr., who left the county schools to head Philadelphia's school system. The term of Alvin Crawley, the interim superintendent, ends Aug. 30.

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WTOP's Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @kateryanWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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