Prince George’s County Schools Chief Kevin M. Maxwell has hired Christian Rhodes, the education adviser to County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, to join his executive team.
Rhodes will become the executive board liaison and strategic partners officer.
Rhodes was a union official before he joined Baker’s staff almost two years ago. He previously served as a political organizer for the Maryland State Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union.
As Baker’s education adviser, Rhodes was tasked with improving coordination among various branches of county government, including the formulation of the school budget, pursuit of educational innovation and reform and advocacy on both a state and national level, all roles traditionally held by the school board.
He described his new duties as an extension of his old ones.
He will help to build a collaborative relationship between the school system and it’s partners, including the county executive, the County Council, county agencies, nonprofits, businesses, foundations and “essentially anyone who is engaged in the work of improving the school system.”
Rhodes, who went to school to become a teacher, said the decision to move from the county administration building to school headquarters was both personal and professional.
“I’ve been involved in the politics of education, but one of my goals was to understand the work better,” he said. “I really wanted to be closer to the work and to be able to influence the work from that perspective.”
Rhodes said it is too soon to discuss projects that he hopes to enhance, but noted that whether it is literacy, ninth-grade promotion or graduation rates, he hopes to be able to lead the school system in partnering with organizations to help it meet its goals.
He is one of several new hires Maxwell has made since he took the helm of the school system 15 months ago. Many of the positions, like Rhodes’s, are newly-created. Rhode’s salary is $138,278.