Paint Branch High School
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|Paint Branch High School|
|Website||Paint Branch High School Website|
It is named after the Paint Branch creek. The school was founded in 1969 and is part of the Montgomery County Public Schools System. The school lies on Old Columbia Pike, between Briggs Chaney and Greencastle Road. The school's address is 14121 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville, MD 20866.
Paint Branch, once a rural high school now deep in the heart of suburban sprawl, is a member of the Northeast Consortium schools in Montgomery County. As a member of the Consortium, the school's signature program focuses on Science and Media education. The panther is the school's mascot, and the school song is 'Hail to the Panthers', which is sung to the tune of 'Hail to the Redskins'. The school's colors are burgundy and gold, also the same as the Washington Redskins.
In the late 1960s Springbrook and Sherwood High Schools were already overcrowded, and plans for further growth in the Northeastern part of Montgomery County were in the offing. A new high school was planned to open in 1969 in the Fairland area on Old Columbia Pike near Briggs Chaney Road. The Board of Education was considering several possible names, and sought the help of the community in the search. One name considered was Columbia High School. However there was fear that this would intrude on the rapidly growing planned community of Columbia, Maryland, just to the north in Howard County. Since the Paint Branch Creek Watershed flows just by the neighborhood, Paint Branch High School was the first choice of the Board. The plan was to have the name be Paint Branch High School for the first year, and then have a vote by the community on a permanent name at the end of that year.
There was discussion among students of naming the school after John Glenn, former astronaut and senator from Ohio and a local group of citizens wished to name the school after a patriarch of a local family, O. B. Robey. The Board stopped the discussion and decreed that the name would be Paint Branch High School.
At the end of the 1969-1970 school year, the students voted to retain the name - Paint Branch High School.
In September 1969, the doors of Paint Branch opened to students in grades 9-11. The founding principal was Dr. Mark Nejako, and his assistant principal was Mr. Robert Smith. The original student body consisted of 665 students drawn from the Springbrook and Sherwood areas.
The original intention of the school system was to make Paint Branch a "technical" high school complete with a large auto mechanics and auto body shop. However, pressure from the community caused the designation as a technical school to be dropped. Nevertheless, the misleading moniker stayed with the school well into the 1970s.
The Middle States Association visited the school in 1973-1974 after a year of self study. The Middle States Assessment Report gave the school excellent status in all areas. Suggestions for improvement were concentrated around improving on the number of students challenging themselves with honors and Advanced Placement courses. Therefore, much of the efforts in the latter 1970's were concentrated in that area.
The size of the student body soon outgrew the capacity of the school building. In the school year 1975-1976 the feeder schools became junior high schools and Paint Branch housed Grades 10 through 12. This arrangement continued until the addition was built in 1987. The school again became a four-year high school beginning with the 1988-1989 school year.
Dr. Nejako retired in June 1979. Steven Dickoff - at the time, principal of Belt Junior High - was selected to be Paint Branch High School's second principal. The Middle States Report from the Assessment in 1984 was flattering in all areas except the size and services of the Media Center. This was the impetus for the addition built in 1987 and the refurbishing of the existing building in 1988. In addition to the larger Media Center, a state-of-the-art TV Studio was added. The number of classrooms was doubled, and a second gymnasium was added.
Steve Dickoff left Paint Branch at the end of the 1988 school year to become the first principal of the newly built Watkins Mill High School in Montgomery Village. Dr. Edward Shirley, from Sligo Middle School, assumed the position of principal. Under Dr. Shirley, the student body continued to grow in size, and several Advanced Placement courses were added. After three years, he was promoted to Community Superintendent, and was succeeded by Rebecca Newman, Paint Branch's first female principal. However, Dr. Newman was in the position for only three years before taking over as principal of Thomas S. Wootton High School.
In 1995, Mr. Fred Lowenbach became principal of Paint Branch High School. Since he had been the principal of Benjamin Banneker Middle School for the past several years, Mr. Lowenbach brought with a thorough knowledge of the community. It was during his tenure that a huge change was made in the history of Paint Branch - The Northeast Consortium of High Schools was established.
The Northeast Consortium 
Because of overcrowding in the high schools in the northeastern part of Montgomery County in the mid-1990s, the School Board set into motion plans to open a new high school in 1998 - the James Hubert Blake High School. The county school system planned to create a consortium of four high schools in order to revolutionize the manner in which a student chooses the particulars of his/her high school education. The plan called for Sherwood, Springbrook, Paint Branch, and Blake high schools to each create a signature program. Even though each school would remain a comprehensive high school, the program of instruction would include course offering unique to that school and the signature program would be incorporated across all disciplines. Thus the eighth grade students could choose the high school that best matched their interests. For reasons determined by the community, Sherwood High School asked to be left out of the consortium. After much debate their request was granted by the School Board. Therefore, the Northeast Consortium got underway in September 1998 with the following signature programs:
James H. Blake High School - Arts and Humanities Paint Branch High School - Academy of Science and Media Springbrook High School - Information Technology in the Global Society and International Baccalaureate Diploma Program
In order to direct the signature school program, a signature resource teacher was hired in each school. Mr. Lowenbach gave this responsibility to Ms. Betsy Brown at Paint Branch. During the latter part of the fall, eighth graders and their parents were invited to each school for an open house in order to give the families in information needed to make an informed choice. The eighth graders had until December 15 to make their selection. There was a guarantee that each student would at least get their base area school. In spite of the fact that Paint Branch was the only one of three schools without a brand new building, it held its own in drawing students.
In the year 2001, Mr. Lowenbach retired to take a teaching position at Johns Hopkins University. The current principal, Ms. Jeanette Dixon, was selected to follow him. Ms. Dixon also brought to her position a rich knowledge and experience in the Paint Branch Community. She served as a teacher at Springbrook High School and administrator at Walter Johnson High School and Benjamin Banneker Middle School; she was principal of White Oak Middle School. Under her leadership, the school continues to move forward with new educational and curriculum enhancements.
The school boasts a rich diversity as a result of the growth spurt in Montgomery County. When the school opened in 1969, the student body was 84% Caucasian, 14% African-American, 1% Asian, and less than 1% Hispanic. As of 2010, the student body is about 50% African-American, 20% Caucasian, 20% Asian, and 10% Hispanic. On February 9, 2011, the College Board recognized Paint Branch High School as having the largest number of black students succeeding in AP World History of any public school in the nation.
- Mark Nejako - 1969-1979
- Steve Dickoff - 1979-1988
- Edward Shirley - 1988-1992
- Rebecca Newman - 1992-1995
- Fred Lowenbach - 1995-2001
- Jeanette Dixon - 2001–Present
Signature Coordinators 
- Betsy Brown
- Brian Eichenlaub - Present
The Panthers have fielded a total of 21 state championship athletic teams, including Girls Basketball (1979, 1980, 2001, 2008), Baseball (1976, 1979, 1990, 1991), Boys' Basketball (1977, 2000), Wrestling (1978, 2001), Boys' Cross-Country (1973, 1974), Boys' Track and Field (Indoor 2003, Outdoor 2003), Girls' Track and Field (Indoor 2009, Outdoor 1989), Field Hockey (2009), Softball (1987), and Football (1975).
Notable alumni 
- Darnell Dockett - Washington Post 1998 All-Met Defensive Football Player of the Year; College Football News 1st Team All-American at Florida State University, All-Pro (2009), Pro-Bowl (2008, 2009, 2010) for the Arizona Cardinals
- Tracy Jackson - McDonald's All-American Game (1977), member the Notre Dame Fighting Irish men's basketball team that reached the Final Four in 1978, 25th overall draft pick in the 1981 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics, 3 NBA seasons with the Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers.
- Eun Yang - television news anchor of WRC-TV
- Brian Heidik - Winner of Survivor: Thailand
- Fredricka Whitfield - News anchor for CNN
- Egypt Sherrod - Radio Personality and Host of "Property Virgins" on HGTV
- Calvin A. Grant - Ophthalmologist that developed the first sustained treatment for ischaemic and non-ischaemic central retinal vein occlusion.
- Cliff Warren - head men's basketball coach at Jacksonville University.
- Mike Jones - head men's basketball coach at Radford University.
- Loritz "Scooter" Clark - Men's and Women's Head Golf Coach at Bethune-Cookman University (Maryland State Individual Golf Champion 1987).
- George W. Draper, III - Justice on the Missouri Supreme Court.
- Walter Hardy - Washington Post 2000 All-Met Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.
- Paul Fahrner - Washington Post 1990 All-Met Boys Baseball Coach of the Year.
- Joe Quattrocchi - Three-time High School All-American (Platform Diving)
- Logan Shinholser - 2012 ACC Men's Diver of the Year (Virginia Tech)
- Awarded the "Blue ribbon Award" in 2000
New Building 
A new building is now established in the location that the woods next to the football field once occupied. As the only school at that time without a new building, Paint Branch High School was guaranteed a new building when it was asked to enter the Northeast Consortium back in 1998. The new building was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010, but budget shortfalls pushed that date until April 2012, resulting in the class of 2013 being the first class to graduate from the new building. Hess Construction Co. was awarded the contract to build the new school. Hess Construction Co. is also the builder of the Kenmore Middle School in Arlington County, Virginia. Staff moved into the new building June 18, 2012.
The old Paint Branch building, originally scheduled to be torn down in the summer of 2012 will now be torn down in October 2012. Sports fields are scheduled to be completed by the 2014-2015 school year.