Plain Local business manager Tom Brabson retires, principals shuffled

PLAIN TWP. – The retirement of Plain Local Schools’ longtime business manager is leading to a series of administrative changes for the upcoming school year. 

Tom Brabson plans to retire in October after 16 years as Plain Local’s business manager, a position that also included the athletic director’s duties for a few years.

Brabson, who has spent 45 years in education including in administrative positions in Alliance and Canton City school districts, also worked in Plain from 1997 to 2000 as athletic director.

“After 45 years in education I can confidently say that Plain Local Schools is the best district I have worked for,” Brabson said in a statement from the district. “We offer students a well-rounded education and have an incredibly dedicated and caring staff. Brent May is an outstanding leader and superintendent, and I am proud to have ended my career here.”

As business manager, Brabson helped to bring security and facility upgrades to Plain Local. He also helped spearhead the Golden Eagle Athletic Association, which has raised money for various district upgrades including the building and development of Bob Commings Field. 

New leadership at GlenOak, Oakwood, Avondale, Middlebranch, Frazer

GlenOak High School principal Mike Babics will succeed Brabson as business manager, starting in October. Babics, a GlenOak graduate, has been head principal at GlenOak since 2016.

GlenOak Deputy Principal Gayle Kimbrough will become GlenOak’s head principal for next school year. 

Brett Niarchos will become deputy principal at GlenOak. Niarchos, who spent seven years as Glenwood Intermediate’s principal, served as the district’s administrator of the coronavirus relief funds this school year.

Middlebranch Elementary Principal JR Easterling will move to Oakwood Middle School and become its head principal. Chicola Whitfield, now the academy principal at GlenOak, will become Oakwood’s deputy principal. 

Oakwood Principal Jeanne McNeal will become Avondale Elementary’s principal. 

Avondale Principal Jennifer Moff will move to Middlebranch Elementary. 

Glenwood Intermediate Assistant Principal Deirdre Coar will become principal at Frazer Elementary.

Jill Downing, who has served as Frazer’s principal for three years, will move into the role of curriculum coordinator.

Reach Kelli at 330-580-8339 or

On Twitter: @kweirREP

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