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Crabtree named Eastside principal
Rex Crabtree.jpg

He’s faced gunfire and roadside bombs on the battlefield of Iraq, so running a school might be considered tame for Rex Crabtree.

Crabtree has been named principal of Eastside School after spending the past 17 years in Warren County as an educator.

“I feel like I can do a lot of good things at Eastside and I’m anxious to get started,” said Crabtree. “I’ve worked a while to get to this point. I’ve been in the Principal Pipeline for the past four years and done a number of things from a leadership standpoint to prepare myself for this. I live in Centertown and I’ve worked at the school for years, but to be named principal of Eastside feels like I’m going home.”

Crabtree, 42, was deployed in Iraq from July 2004 to July 2005 where his transportation unit frequently came under attack. It was a tense and sorrowful year, Crabtree said.

“Roadside bombs were bad at that time so that was something we had to deal with in transportation,” said Crabtree. “It was tough. I lost my battle buddy to a roadside bomb on Labor Day 2004. I served with those guys for a year, but I formed long-lasting friendships with some of them, even more so than I did with some of the people I went to school with for 13 years. It was a different kind of bond.”

Crabtree said former Eastside principal Doug Reed hired him just days after he returned from Iraq. He served as a 7-8 grade history teacher at Eastside where he also enjoyed success coaching basketball.

He transferred to Centertown, where he also teaches 7-8 grade history, so he could work closer to home and also teach with his wife, Leslie. 

His youngest daughter still goes to school at Centertown with his oldest daughter now a freshman at WCHS.

“There was a time when all four of us rode to school together,” said Crabtree. “It will be a little longer commute for me now, but this is an opportunity I’ve been working toward and I can’t wait to get started.”

As principal, Crabtree will no longer coach basketball, but athletics will still have a special place in his heart.

“I know how important sports are to a school and how much they can boost morale so I want to establish a strong sports program at Eastside,” said Crabtree.

Director of Schools Grant Swallows made the decision to hire Crabtree, the second principal he’s hired for the 2021-22 school year.

“I am happy to announce that I have offered the position of Eastside principal to Mr. Rex Crabtree who has accepted,” said Swallows. “Mr. Crabtree communicated his love for Eastside and the community throughout the interview process. This love and the work that has been observed of him during his experience in the Principal Pipeline, as well as his excellent work in the classroom, has uniquely qualified him for this position. I look forward to working with him and everyone at Eastside to serve our students well.”