Brock Maxfield, 37, the new principal of Hoquiam High School is a lifelong resident of Hoquaim and a former student there who “bleeds crimson and gray.” A member of the class of 1994, Maxfield comes from a long line of local educators. His decision to become a teacher was clinched at Washington State University, where he graduated in 1998.
When not interacting with students and roaming the hall of HHS, Maxfield spends time with his wife of seven years and their two children, a 3-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl. Maxfield also likes reading, participating in outdoor activities such as camping and fishing and not-so-secretly fantasizing about starting a band and becoming a rock star.
How does it feel to be 37 and be the principal of a high school?
It feels great. I’ve got a lot of energy. I am excited for the school year.
What does it feel like to be in charge of the some of the very same teachers who had you as a student?
You know, the transition from teacher to assistant principal was tougher just because you’re going from the teaching ranks and you are going into an administrative role. I’ve been in an administrative role for six years so it’s not strange now. The difference is the buck stops with me now.
What is it like to accomplish every student’s dream, to boss their teachers around?
(Grinning and shaking his head.) I’ve never thought of it that way. It’s good, but I have always viewed leadership roles as “serving,” serving others.
Why did you get involved in education?
My whole family in some capacity has been involved in education. Actually when I started I wanted to be a lawyer because my uncle is a lawyer and I wanted to be like him. And then I wanted to be an environmental scientist and then I hit, some chemistry class and I said, “this is ridiculous” and so I thought about it long and hard. I took a couple of (career) surveys and every survey I took — I took like two or three — it came back, “teacher, teacher, teacher.” But I go back to this, I love the culture of a school. I love the Friday night football games. I love seeing the kids be successful whatever it is, whether it’s a band student, a drama student, science fair… whatever. I love seeing kids be successful and I want to help them be successful and I want to help them achieve something in their lives. That’s really important to me.
What were you like when you were starting out as a freshman?
I had a bedpan on my head, a dress on and a ski boot on one foot and a high heel on the other one. Running around a car in a dress and a ski boot was hard, but I was being “froshed.”
What would be something that would surprise your students if they knew about you?
I like heavy metal music. … But it wouldn’t shock them all. I have seen a few of them at concerts.
What song do you think has the highest number of counts on your Ipod or Iphone?
(Thinking.) I have some Mettalica on there and some Tobey Mac. And I listen to a lot of 80s music.
Is there any song on there that would be embarrassing if people knew?
Like Kenny Loggins? That might be bad, but I like Kenny Loggins. WHAM! Is awesome.
Who pops into mind as a hero or someone who influenced your life when you were in high school?
My dad has been the biggest influence in my life. That’s been by far the biggest influence. My grandfather, my mother’s dad, was a principal and a superintendent and he was a big influence on my life as well. If you are going with someone who is famous, you know who I really liked growing up? This might be a lame answer but I respect Gandhi. I respect what Gandhi did. I respect the fact, you know, that he stood up for what he believed in. He did it in a peaceful manner. I respect what he did for India.
Do you like it when former students drop by?
Yeah, I love it when former students drop by and say hi. Believe it or not, it happens a lot. We have kids that come in and say “Hi, how are you doing?” and “How are things?” I see a lot of former students around town. You go to Safeway and you run into every student especially on Thanksgiving and Christmas time because they are in college and they come back. It reaffirms (my) purpose.
Do you play practical jokes on your students?
No. I’ve helped students play jokes. I had a student last year that wanted to ask his girlfriend to the prom. So I went and got her out of class, acting like she was in trouble – like we had a serious situation on our hands. And I brought her up and I said, “Just go ahead and go in the office, I’ll be in there in a minute. I’ve got to take care of something here.” So she goes and walks into my office and the boy is standing there with “will you go to prom with me.” She said ‘yes.’”
If you could be doing anything else, besides being a principal, what would it be?
There are two things. Rock star would be awesome. You know in a band, playing… cruising around. The other thing would be the opposite extreme. I would love to go to a third-world country and open a school or participate in an activity that helps that community be better.
If you won $10 million dollars in the state lottery after taxes, how would you spend it?
Oh I have thought about this question a lot. This is going to be the biggest, cheesiest answer ever. Honestly I would love to open up places to do projects to help the community in Hoquiam.