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Gwinnett County Public Schools

Maxwell High School of Technology

 Maxwell High School of Technology

Fast Facts


Maxwell High School of Technology is located in the central part of Gwinnett County and serves high school students from all of Gwinnett County Public Schools. Career and Technical Education began in Gwinnett County at Central Gwinnett High School in September, 1966. In 1973, Gwinnett’s Career and Technical Education program moved to what is now the Maxwell location in Lawrenceville. It was originally called The Career Center. In 1983, that location’s name changed to the Gwinnett Vocational Education Center (GVEC) at Oakland. The Gwinnett Vocational Education Center (GVEC) at Parkview opened in 1976 as a part of the Parkview High School complex. A 1990 bond referendum proposed that the two existing high school vocational education centers be combined into a single comprehensive career center that would serve all high schools in the system. That recommendation was approved and on June 20, 1995, the two programs merged and the name of the school was changed to Maxwell High School of Technology in recognition of principal and technical education leader Howard Maxwell.

Maxwell High School of Technology offers career and technical education programs to students throughout Gwinnett County. Gwinnett’s career and technical education program, formerly called vocational education, has a long history as well as a long-standing tradition of excellence. Maxwell has built on this tradition of excellence and the histories of GVEC at Oakland and GVEC at Parkview to offer today’s students an education and experiences that will benefit them as they go to college or head into the workplace.

The mission of Maxwell High School of Technology is founded in educational research on increasing achievement, improving graduation rates, and sustaining student success in postsecondary experiences. The research-based initiatives that Maxwell launched include, but are not limited to, awarding of credit based on demonstrated mastery rather than instructional hours, providing a seamless transition for students to college and/or career, and assuring that the faculty represents the highest caliber of professionals with real-life experiences that can be transferred directly to student learning.

Maxwell offers a wide range of award-winning and nationally recognized programs including: Architectural Drawing & Design, Collision Repair, Construction, Culinary Arts, Early Childhood Education, Electronics, Fire and Emergency Services (Firefighting, Flight Operations, Graphic Design, HVACR, Law Enforcement Services, Maintenance & Light Repair (Automotive Services), Metals (Welding), Personal Care Services (Cosmetology), Programming (Apps & Game Design), Therapeutic Services (Healthcare).

As the school’s history is tied to the programs that served Gwinnett County students in the past, the histories of GVEC at Oakland and GVEC at Parkview are shared to emphasize the important role career and technical education has played and continues to play in Gwinnett County Public Schools.

GVEC at Oakland

The first vocational school program in Gwinnett County was housed in the upper wing of Central Gwinnett Lawrenceville High School from 1966 until 1972. In 1973, the vocational education program moved to its present location at 990 McElvaney Lane in Lawrenceville. When the school was constructed, the site was the central location for all the high schools in the county; therefore, the school was named the Career Education Center.

In 1983, the original name was changed to the Gwinnett Vocational Education Center at Oakland. Because of the opening of a second vocational education school program at Parkview in 1976, the 19-classroom Vocational Education Center at Oakland had changed from servicing all the county high schools to servicing students from Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Norcross, North Gwinnett, Duluth and Dacula high schools. A few programs unique to the center at Oakland continued to draw students from all high schools. These unique programs included horticulture, data processing, heating and air conditioning, graphic arts, English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Supportive Training, Rehabilitative Instruction Vocational Education (STRIVE). The other programs offered include cosmetology, drafting, medical services, computer technology, electronics, construction, child care, auto body and metals.

From the time the vocational program began in 1966 until 1983, Howard Maxwell was the principal. Others who served at the vocational center at Oakland from its opening through their retirements were Billy Smith, administrative assistant and counselor; David Spencer, auto body instructor; Jan Erb, drafting instructor; David Goodroe, electronics instructor; Buford Deal, graphics arts instructor, and Adrianne Williams, medical services instructor. Roger Sartor became principal in 1983.

During the years that the vocational center at Oakland was in existence, job placement was as high as 90 percent and never lower than 60 percent. In addition to being a pilot program for combining ESOL with vocational class offerings, the GVEC at Oakland offered courses for applied English and applied math credit during the 1989–90 school year.

David Goodroe, Historian

GVEC at Parkview

The Gwinnett Vocational Education Center at Parkview opened in 1976 as a part of the Parkview High School complex. Since the center was so closely tied to Parkview at that time, the center was known as Parkview Vocational Center. Students from South Gwinnett and Parkview high schools shared the facilities.

Seven vocational programs were offered to students that first year. Auto body, transportation, construction, cosmetology, drafting, electronics and metals were selected as the original course offerings. A principal and a parttime secretary completed the staff for the 1976–77 school term. During the second year of operation, a Diversified Cooperative Training (DCT) program was added. A vocational counselor was added to the staff the third year (1978–79).

An addition to the building was completed for the school year 1982–83. Four new programs were added: child care; hotel, restaurant and tourism (HRT); health occupations, and marketing. As new high schools were built in the area, the student population the center served increased. The name also was changed to appeal to the more varied student body. Five schools were served: Parkview, South Gwinnett, Brookwood, Shiloh, and Meadowcreek high schools. The HRT program was phased out during school year 1987–88, and the health occupations program was no longer offered after 1988–89.

Under the leadership of Principal Roy Rucks, the development of the vocational curriculum became widely recognized. The school was selected for two pilot programs that involved curriculum. In 1987, Ohio State University chose the center as one of six pilot schools in the nation to develop strategies for delivering basic skills to vocational students. In 1988, the Southern Regional Education Board selected the center for a similar study involving basic skills. Only two sites in the state of Georgia were selected for this research.

Virginia McIntosh, Historian