As the 2018-19 school year approaches, Cedar Shoals High School welcomes the new principal Derrick Maxwell. Parents and the community met Maxwell with open arms at a parent-principal meet and greet at two sessions before pre-planning.
Maxwell is not a stranger to the East Side community. Many parents know him from his years as principal for Whit Davis Elementary and his time as interim principal at Cedar back in 2016.
“He has always had great enthusiasm and has great parental involvement. I hope that he will help Cedar flourish as much as we can,” said David Huff, a parent of two Whit Davis graduates. “I think he will be great with engaging with students. That’s the thing that I specifically remember, his rapport with students and parents, as well as the teachers. He’s very open with people that he works with, and that’s one of his many strengths.”
Maxwell spent his Monday evening and Tuesday morning last week socializing with students, teachers, and parents. Attendees were thrilled with his return to Cedar, though a few were meeting him for the first time.
“I really appreciate him taking over after everything that happened, I thought he had some really good ideas. I would like to see him stay. I think that would be the biggest gift for Cedar, to maintain a principal from the community that gets to know a whole freshman class, see them graduate, and hopefully do it again,” said Shannon York, Cedar Shoals Parent Teacher Organization president and mother of a rising senior.
“Mr. Maxwell was always creating bonds with his students and looking out for all of us. He made it a point to remember our names and make sure that we were okay, and I think he is going to bring a new air to Cedar. I think he’s going to make connections with all of the students, and finally give us a principal that we can really rely on,” said Brooke Fraysher, a rising junior and graduate of Whit Davis.
Even more excited than the students for Maxwell’s return is Mr. Maxwell himself.
“I think the tone that we are setting is optimism and a real focus and hope to improve things. I think everyone’s excited and hopeful, and I think we can focus that energy to get a little bit better every day,” said Maxwell. “One thing that I’ve always tried to do is just to establish positive relationships with the students and with their parents. Mutual respect, being open and inviting, listening to people’s concerns. I’m going to try and empower instead of overpower, or inspire instead of coinspire.”
In time, Mr. Maxwell aims to build and change the community’s perception of Cedar Shoals through those relationships.
“One of the unsung heroes is the climate and culture of the school. Were going to be specifically working on improving the climate of the school. That’s not just the climate for just students, or parents or teachers, but the entire, overall climate and culture of the building,” said Maxwell.