Mountain Home Education Foundation inducts former Band Director Bill Maxwell

The Mountain Home Education Foundation will host its 13th annual Night of Honors Thursday at Big Creek Country Club. In part three of our four-part series KTLO, Classic Hits 101.7 and The Boot News speaks with former Assistant High School Band Director Bill Maxwell, this year's faculty inductee.Maxwell led the Junior High Band and was assistant high school band director in Mountain Home Public Schools for 39 years before retiring in 2013. His wife, Donna, retired that same year as elementary music director. Over the decades, he has been a leader in music education in Arkansas and beyond.

Throughout his career, Maxwell has been known for his compassion toward students and teaching them compassion, as well. At his own cost, he supplied students in need with instruments, clothes and financial assistance.

When asked about his desire to help others Maxwell responds humbly.

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Outside the classroom, Maxwell taught his students the value of community service by taking groups to perform at nursing homes, as well as preparing ensembles to play at Veterans’ Day programs, Christmas tree lightings on the square and at various church activities.

Mountain Home Public Schools honored Maxwell with the Teacher’s Heart Award in May 2011, and the previous year he was named Teacher of the Year and was a state finalist for Arkansas Teacher of the Year. In 2004, he received the Distinguished Advocate Award from the Arkansas Chapter of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

The award was given for Maxwell's work with a blind band student. He taught his student to play the tuba using a braille music computer program he had implemented. As a result, the student was able to participate in band concerts and marched with the MHHS Bomber Band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2006.

Bill and Donna Maxwell have several former students who are members of various college bands and try to attend one or two of their concerts and football games each year, as well as the marching band and concert performances of Mountain Home bands.

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Maxwell was born in Little Rock in 1952 and was a 1970 graduate of North Little Rock High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Arkansas Tech University in May 1974, and joined the Mountain Home school system that fall as the first junior high band director. In 1983, he earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Arkansas.

He served on the Mountain Home School District’s Finance Committee from 2001 to 2012 and was its chairman from 2003 to 2012. He was a charter member of the Arkansas Bandmasters’ Association (ABA), a member of the American School Band Directors’ Association (ASBDA) and the Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association (ASBOA). He was president of the ASBOA in the 2002-2003 school year and served on its board from 1979 to 2012. From 1974 to 2010 he was on Arkansas Tech’s band camp staff and a camp board member from 1979 to 2010. He has been a member of the Phi Beta Mu Music Fraternity since 1978. He was also a member of Phi Delta Kappa, a national professional organization for educators, from 1989 to 2000 and was its treasurer from 1998 to 2000.

In retirement, music continues to be a part of life for both the Maxwells. He teaches private music lessons and has been an active clinician and adjudicator in Arkansas, Missouri and Louisiana. This past winter and spring, he helped various directors get their bands ready for contests, judged several contests and directed an all-region band.

Now that they have more free time, the two have taken in concerts by some of their favorite musicians including Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, CSN (Crosby, Stills and Nash), Fleetwood Mac, the Doobie Brothers, Journey, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Firefall, Dwight Yoakam and Arlo Guthrie.

Their daughter, Kerri, and husband Brad live in Savannah, Ga. Bill and Donna’s first grandchild, William Maxwell “Wells” Hunter, was born in April.

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