When we learned today that our dear friend and colleague Dr. Michael Maze passed away over Spring Break, it devastated many across Atlanta Public Schools including me.
As the Director of Career Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) for APS, Dr. Maze was an educator whose relationships extended far beyond the work of our district. He was a loving and engaged educator and friend who cared deeply about our students, so his loss leaves a huge hole for many in Atlanta, including our many partners and other CTAE leaders across the state.
Dr. Maze worked in quiet yet compelling ways. He focused his leadership over the past 21 years in APS. I will definitely miss his dedication to the APS mission to ensure our students graduates ready for college and career. As the leader of CTAE in APS for the past several years, Dr. Maze was a champion for children and an expert in his field.
That devotion remained true ever since Dr. Maze began his career in education with APS in 1997 as a business education teacher and department chair at Southside High School and North Atlanta High School. It continued as he became a model teacher leader and then project administrator at our district office, Alonzo A. Crim Center for Learning & Leadership.
But it fully blossomed when he became the district’s CTAE director. In this role, he led the district’s signature program initiative, which includes STEM education, International Baccalaureate and College and Career Readiness. For his work, he was named the 2017 Georgia Association of Career and Technical Education Administrator of the Year for his long-standing commitment to high quality outcomes in CTAE.
In receiving that honor, it was no surprise that Dr. Maze deferred much of the credit to his CTAE team and, of course, emphatically stated the importance of the APS mission. He said: “I am particularly proud of the innovative and creative work that we are producing for the students of this great city. I accept this honor on behalf of all the students, parents, stakeholders, community leaders and partners who are committed to ensuring that every Atlanta Public Schools student is college and career ready.”
Dr. Maze implemented the CTAE initiative through awareness, exploration and concentration, providing numerous opportunities for our students to engage. His commitment to preparing our students for college and career extended beyond the walls of the classroom. Through his efforts, we saw an increase last year in the total number of CTAE Pathway Completers, jumping to 1,083, representing a 2.5% increase over the previous year. And the number of students in dual enrollment increased to 8% last year over 2017, totaling 500 students.
The vision for the District’s new College and Career Academy was Dr. Maze’s dream, even before the start of this current administration. He was instrumental in envisioning and leading the development of the Academy, which launched in August 2016 in partnership with Atlanta Technical College. Phase 2 of the Academy will open in 2020 to serve thousands of students.
Many of our partners in the community have worked with Dr. Maze directly over the years, especially when they would come together for the CTAE golf tournament, which has been an annual event for seven years. The proceeds from that tournament are directed toward CTAE activities, such as college scholarships, fees for robotics and other technical skills competitions, student recognition events, and CTAE outreach activities. That annual tournament helps connect our community partners with our college and career efforts and provides a way for the community to invest in APS students.
Dr. Maze will be truly missed by his APS family and his extended friends and family across Atlanta and the state of Georgia. And I will miss this educator who was truly dedicated in service to make all Atlanta’s students college and career ready no matter their circumstances.
Please join me in keeping his family and loved ones in our prayers during this challenging time. May God bless you, Dr. Maze! We will all miss you and will be forever grateful for all you have done for the children of Atlanta.