New faces join Crest schools staff

(Editor’s note: The Register is profiling new educators with brief bits of biographical information. Today’s roundup features new teachers at Crest Elementary and Crest High School in Colony -USD 479.)

Family Living Editor

Lee Jones
Amanda Burk
Jon Pretz

COLONY — There are several new faces in USD 479 faculty ranks this year.

Lee Jones
Stepping into the role of Crest superintendent is Lee Jones.
Jones was hired earlier this month following the resignation of last year’s superintendent Duane Thomas, who has accepted a coaching position in northern Arkansas.
Originally from Ells-worth, Jones attended Pittsburg State University where he had intended to study architecture and play basketball. His interest quickly shifted to coaching and education.
Jones began his career in education as a math teacher in El Dorado. For the past 10 years he has worked as an administrator. He worked nine years as principal in Prairie View Middle School in La Cygne and one year as assistant superintendent at Shawnee Heights in Topeka.
Jones’ position at Shawnee Heights was eliminated due to budget cuts.
“I like the small school atmosphere and am excited to be here at Crest,” he said.
His wife, Laura, works for the Department of Education in Topeka. She is maintaining the couple’s home in Topeka. Jones is renting a home in Garnett and said, “We get to see each other on the weekend.”
The couple have two grown sons, one who lives in Topeka and the other in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“I’m still getting acquainted and am looking forward to the school year,” Jones said.

Amanda Burk
First-time teacher Amanda Burk is working in special education with students in kindergarten through fifth at Crest Elementary School.
Burk, who grew up in LaHarpe, received her bachelor’s degree from Pittsburg State University. She is attending Emporia State University where she is pursuing her master’s degree in special education.
She said her interest in becoming a teacher was sparked following the birth of her children.
“I enjoy working with my students, and look forward to helping them improve their reading and math skills,” Burk said.
Burk and her husband, David, live in Iola with their children, Braydon, 12, Taryn, 10, Kaylan, 6, and Paige, 3.

Jon Pretz
Jon Pretz student taught last year in Winfield and has been hired to fill the position of agriculture teacher for grades eighth through 12th at Crest Middle and High School. He is a graduate of Kansas State University.
He grew up on a dairy farm near Osawatomie and as a youth was a member of a 4-H club and enjoyed FFA activities throughout his high school years.
“I am excited to begin working with and taking my students to judging contestS through FFA events,” he said.
Pretz was an all-around athlete in high school participating in football, basketball and track and field. Along with teaching agriculture he will be the assistant high school girls’ basketball coach.
Pretz is single and making his home in Colony.
“I like the small town atmosphere and am looking forward to getting to know my students,” he said.