John Thomas to be director of Region 18

By Joe Gulick

John R. Thomas, who announced his retirement in February as Frenship Independent School District superintendent, has accepted the position of executive director of the Region 18 Education Service Center in Midland.

“When I announced my retirement, I felt like I would retire as a superintendent but that probably other opportunities would present themselves — such as this,” Thomas said. “I had other opportunities but felt this was one I couldn’t turn down.”

The Region 18 service center covers 19 counties, has 120 employees and includes 33 school districts, three charter schools and 179 campuses. Thomas will succeed Charles Greenawalt, who is retiring after six years at Region 18.

Thomas said the 20 education service centers in Texas provide services to school districts, including technology support, curriculum support, business services and many other services. The service centers help smaller districts with cooperative services that pull resources together and assist in managing them, and they help larger districts in ways such as providing training for teachers.

“This was a great opportunity for me to remain in public education and work with school districts and continue to help schools become better,” he said. “Instead of working with one school district, I’ll be working with 33 school districts. The job is still about kids and helping them be successful.”

Thomas has been an educator for 32 years. He was superintendent in Ralls before joining Frenship as assistant superintendent in 1997.

He became the Frenship superintendent in March 2001. During the eight years he has served as head administrator, the Frenship ISD has grown by more than 1,600 students and earned five recognized ratings from the Texas Education Agency.

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