English teacher Brandon Maxwell, makes a difference in Tanzania

Photo submitted by Brandon Maxwell
Maxwell from his service trip in Tanzania. “He helps people all the time,” senior Daisy Stengl said. “I feel like all he wants to do in life, is just help a bunch of people.”

While only in his 30s, English and AVID teacher Brandon Maxwell has touched hundreds, even thousands of lives. At the start of his career in 2005, Maxwell spent three years teaching secondary English in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He volunteered in Madala, a village just north of Dar Es Salaam.

“The idea to go [to Tanzania] came from a desire to serve,” Maxwell said. “My wife and I believe in the power of compassion and service, and what good is belief without action?”

In Tanzania, he and his wife helped build a preschool and a community center, while also serving the community by running a week-long education camp, provide education for the teacher’s in Madala, hosting kids clubs, helping in the medical clinic, and often working on the buildings and grounds by painting, building and planting.

Aside from his wife, Maxwell is not in this alone. Since he last lived in Tanzania, he has taken annual trips with a common goal to serve. Maxwell has brought many former students and teachers from Stillwater to serve in Tanzania, while building strong relationships with the natives.

“We met and became great friends with a Tanzanian man named William who had the same beliefs and goals as us,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell is more than just a teacher; he’s a people-person trying to make a difference. While working at Oakland Jr. High, and Stillwater Area High School, Maxwell has brought out the best in his students.

Senior Andrew Wilcek said, “[Mr. Maxwell] is a very sharing, caring person…He really cares about his students and gives back to the community. He tries to connect with all of his students…He wants all of his students to succeed.”

Working with teenagers can be a struggle to many teachers, but Maxwell thrives in this environment. Being an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) teacher is no ordinary teaching position. He must create personal bonds with his students, so that they want themselves to succeed as much as he wants them to. He does this by putting his students lives in the forefront, honing in on their beliefs and goals.

Stengl added, “He is a friend. He’s inspiring.”

Maxwell doesn’t separate his out-of-school life from his in-school life. He continues to generate positivity, enthusiasm and establish a beneficial work environment for his students. In addition to teaching, Maxwell stays connected with student-athletes as well, as he coaches baseball and basketball in the middle and high school levels. While working with kids, teenagers, and adults, Maxwell institutes an exceptional reputation with people of all age groups. He shows selflessness wherever and whenever possible, as long as someone else is becoming a better person because of it.

“We, Pony Nation, have a lot to be thankful for,” Maxwell explained. “Being able to drink clean water or put shoes on your feet sets you apart from many. One of the ways to show gratitude is to help someone else. The possibilities are endless, and the effort is always worth it.Find a way to make a difference and act on it.”