Stow official will serve as new leader of Alliance City Schools

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Stow city school district officials offered a fond farewell to an administrator who was recently hired to lead a district in Stark County.

The Stow-Munroe Falls Board of Education meeting on July 20 was the last one for Rob Gress, the district’s director of business and operations, who was hired earlier this month to become the superintendent of the Alliance City School District. The Stow-Munroe Falls Board of Education on July 20 approved Gress’ resignation effective July 31.

Stow-Munroe Falls City School District Superintendent Tom Bratten said Gress was fulfilling a lifelong dream.

“He got the job of his dream in his hometown in Alliance,” Bratten said. “He will be an amazing superintendent down there. We wish him nothing but the best of luck. He is not only a great administrator, but a great person and he has a great family. We will miss him sorely.”

Stow-Munroe Falls School Board President Jason Whitacre added that Gress “has been a great employee for our school system.”

“You couldn’t ask for a better business person and gentleman,” said Stow Mayor John Pribonic at the city council meeting on Thursday night. “It’s a loss to our schools and city. Best of luck to your further endeavors.”

Gress, who spent 15 years as an administrator in Alliance, was hired by the Alliance school board July 7 with a 4-0 vote.

Gress, who immediately will begin transitioning to his new role, will earn an annual salary of $140,000. He succeeds Jeffery Talbert, who was hired as the superintendent of the Canton City School District.

For the past two years, Gress has been the director of business and operations at the Stow-Munroe Falls City School District and was poised to become Stow-Munroe Falls’ assistant superintendent in August.

But Gress, an Alliance resident, said he couldn’t miss the chance to return to Alliance City Schools. Gress, who started his career in education as a Latin teacher, began in Alliance as a high school principal and career and technical education director in 2002. He was promoted to director of secondary education in 2009 and then to assistant superintendent in 2013, the role he served in until he left for Stow-Munroe Falls in 2018.

“The opportunity to work with the staff again is an opportunity I would never pass up,” he said.

Gress said he’s seen the dedication and quality of the teachers and staff not only as a colleague and city resident, but also as a parent. Gress and his wife, Anne, are parents to two sons, one who will be a freshman at Alliance High School this fall and one who graduated from Alliance this year and will be heading to Duke University in the fall.

“Just to be a part of that team and a leader for that team is exciting for me beyond words,” he said.

Board Vice President Bill Koch said Gress was selected from a pool of more than a dozen candidates due to his familiarity with the district and his proven track record.

“He lives in the district, he knows the district, he knows the people that are here and he knows the vision that has been established by Mr. Talbert,” Koch said. “ … With the times that we are in with the disruption of the classes and who knows what’s going to happen when school starts, he has the knowledge to fit right in.”

Reporter Laura Freeman contributed to this story.