It was the first day of school.

Students who had donned new outfits and new backpacks and were giddy at the notion of making new friends and getting reacquainted with old ones. Parents who had made sure their children had lunch money fed them a hot breakfast and put them on the school bus praying that the 2013/2014 school year would be successful for their sons and daughters. Teachers, excited to impart knowledge to a new crop of young people, welcomed their daytime wards.

At Thomas G. Pullen Creative and Performing Arts School in Landover on August 19, several buses were late, but that didn’t affect students’ excitement at beginning a new school year. While some students looked excited getting off the bus, others looked nervous. Mothers of the youngest children hugged them as they fought back tears. Parents of older children gave them a quick kiss and headed off to work.

“It’s going to be a great school year,” Pullen Principal Pamela Lucas-Adams told the AFRO as students ran up and gave her hugs.

Kevin M. Maxwell, who took the helm of the county’s schools Aug. 1, spent the day touring schools, accompanied by County Executive Rushern L. Baker III. At Barnaby Manor Elementary and Oxon Hill Middle School, Maxwell and Baker were joined by Gov. Martin J. O’Malley.

Maxwell’s sojourn around the county to visit schools gave him a chance to tread on familiar ground. He started his education career in Prince George’s County, teaching before being promoted to principal. He left the county to work in Montgomery County Public Schools and later moved to Anne Arundel County Public Schools as the chief executive of schools. He was there when he was hired to oversee schools in Prince George’s.

Maxwell told reporters at a news conference that he had been a little anxious about the start of school.

“I’m very excited,” Maxwell said. “I had a sleepless night last night because I had so much adrenaline. I’m really looking forward to making a difference and being a part of this team.”

Students received the visitors enthusiastically. Maxwell’s entourage also included Dr. Segun Eubanks, the county’s school board chairman.

At Barnaby Manor pre-K students were presented with “KITS for Kidz,” which contained school supplies.

“This is one of eight full-day Pre-K programs we have done with our Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative,” Baker said. “We are looking at those areas in Prince George’s County which really need it. We are hoping to replicate this throughout the county.”

O’Malley told reporters he wanted to support Baker as the county moves in a new direction with its schools.

“Both of us are excited about the leadership in Prince George’s County and the ability Prince George’s has to really make these next several years some of the most productive in the ongoing story of Prince George’s County and her kids,” he said.


Courtney Jacobs

AFRO Staff Writer