Student returns to middle school - as principal

Maxwell takes over

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  • | 3:16 p.m. November 22, 2011
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Maitland Middle School Principal Ron Maxwell now runs the school he used to attend.
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Maitland Middle School Principal Ron Maxwell now runs the school he used to attend.
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In 1987, Ron Maxwell roamed the hallways as a student at Maitland Middle School.

Twenty-four years later, he still roams those hallways. But instead of sitting in a student desk, he sits in the head office as the school’s new principal.

“It’s just amazing to be able to come back,” Maxwell said.

Up until three years ago, when the school first went through renovations, the school looked exactly the same as Maxwell remembered it. When he got the job as assistant principal in 2007, he unexpectedly found himself back in a place he hadn’t seen in almost two decades, and in August he rose to principal.

“It’s been a great opportunity to work at a school where you already know your staff. You know the students, you know the parents,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed the experience. The staff and the community are great — and the students too.”

Maitland Middle School is located at 1901 Choctaw Trail in Maitland. Visit or call 407-623-1462.

On the grow

With the renovation, completed in March 2010, the school gained a 72,000-square-foot building. The only structure that remains thereafter is the gymnasium, where he worked his first summer job as a junior counselor the summer after he graduated from eighth grade.

In addition to the renovations and additions, Maitland Middle School has also seen an increase in enrolment, particularly in sixth-grade students.

“A lot of the kids are coming from private schools back to public school,” he said. “And I think that has a lot to do with the economy.”

More high-level courses

But those are not the only changes the school will be seeing now that they have a new principal. Students now have the opportunity to take six high school classes, including Honors Algebra I, Honors Geometry, Spanish I, and 3-D Animation.

The idea behind the rigorous coursework is to encourage the students to excel, he said.

“I want to continue to be focused on teaching and learning and to help teachers become better teachers so they can increase student achievement,” Maxwell said. “As long as we stay focused on student learning, we’ll be in good shape.”

Close to his heart

Growing up in Eatonville and staying involved with the community, Maxwell said he easily identifies with plenty of the students — and it also helps that his two children now attend the middle school as well.

He has tried to stay as hands-on and involved with the children as he had been as a teacher during the beginning of his career, but he admits it is easier to lose touch with them in his new position as overseer of everything.

“The sad part (about this) is that you end up knowing a lot of the kids for the wrong reasons,” he said.

High expectations

Though Maxwell initially wanted to simply be a teacher and a coach, his eventual pursuit of higher education led him to aspire to become superintendent. He plans to obtain his Ph.D. in the next two years.

He makes sure to have high expectations for all of the students regardless of who they are and what their home life is like.

“He has a God-given ability to really listen to what people say,” eighth-grade science teacher Lynn Mederos said. “… When you’ve got a great boss, you want to do your best. You don’t want to feel like you have disappointed him, and that’s the best kind of boss to have.”

Paul Wilhite, the assistant principal who took over Maxwell’s former position in August, agreed.

“He’s an outstanding leader, and he has a great vision,” Wilhite said. “He’s just very approachable and has been very helpful to me being in the new position that I am in.”


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