After ‘stumbles,’ Prince George’s schools chief asked to stay on

Prince George's County schools chief Kevin Maxwell at a Feb. 17 event at  DuVal High School in Lanham, Maryland. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Prince George’s County schools chief Kevin Maxwell at a Feb. 17 event at DuVal High School in Lanham, Maryland. (WTOP/Kate Ryan) ((WTOP/Kate Ryan))
FILE  —  Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker at a Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, event at  DuVal High School in Lanham, Maryland. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker at a Feb. 17 event at DuVal High School in Lanham, Maryland. (WTOP/Kate Ryan) ((WTOP/Kate Ryan))
Prince George's County schools chief Kevin Maxwell at a Feb. 17 event at  DuVal High School in Lanham, Maryland. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Prince George's County schools chief Kevin Maxwell at a Feb. 17 event at DuVal High School in Lanham, Maryland. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)((WTOP/Kate Ryan))
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Prince George's County schools chief Kevin Maxwell at a Feb. 17 event at  DuVal High School in Lanham, Maryland. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
FILE  —  Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker at a Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, event at  DuVal High School in Lanham, Maryland. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Prince George's County schools chief Kevin Maxwell at a Feb. 17 event at  DuVal High School in Lanham, Maryland. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

LANHAM, Md. — Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker has asked his hand-picked schools chief, Kevin Maxwell, to stay on.

At an announcement at DuVal High School in Lanham, Maryland, Baker announced he’s recommending that Maxwell’s contract be renewed. That would keep Maxwell in the top leadership position until 2021.

Baker acknowledged some of the problems that have arisen for the school system during Maxwell’s tenure. “He’s not perfect, I’m not perfect, but our job is to make this school system the best it can be for every single child that walks through our doors,” Bakers said.

During Maxwell’s administration, the school system was rocked by the arrest and prosecution of a former school volunteer accused of sexually abusing students and generating child pornography on and off school grounds. That man, Deonte Carraway, recently pleaded guilty to federal charges. He faces hundreds of counts in the state judicial system.

The county also lost a $6.5 million federal grant for the Head Start program after complaints of mistreatment of children were documented, including the case of one Head Start staffer forcing a child who had wet his pants to mop the floor and then texted a photo of the boy to the child’s mother with the caption “LOL, he worked that mop, tho!”

Baker said the schools chief continues to have his support.

“Have we had problems? Yes we have,” Baker said. “You’re going to have bumps and stumbles. The question is how you react to things that go wrong.”

Indicating Maxwell, who sat before him in the DuVal High school classroom where the announcement was made, Baker said “I have never lost confidence in the man who’s sitting there.”

Maxwell addressed the officials after Baker spoke.

“It’s a great day in Prince George’s County. I stand here honored, humbled, and gratified to be reappointed,” he said.

The announcement comes a little over a week after the school system celebrated record high graduation rates.

Maxwell noted the progress made in the school system during his tenure and said a teacher had emailed him just that morning to say several students had gotten scholarships to places like the Art Institute of Chicago. “This is a regular occurrence in my part of the world,” he said. “It’s a shame more people don’t know about it, but we’re working on it!

If approved, Maxwell’s reappointment would be the first time since 1991 that a county superintendent has had their contract renewed.

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