Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY
Preston Jones:
Assistant Director 2016-2019
Interim Executive Director 2019
Director 2019-2023


Preston Jones in dark blue shirt with Geoff Marietta and members of the Pine Mountain Board of Trustees. [P1150754.jpg]

TAGS: Preston Jones, PMSS directors, Geoff Marietta, Jason Brashear, interim directors, press release, fundraising, community outreach, Grow Appalachia

PRESTON JONES Director 2019-2023

Assistant Director 2016-2019
Interim Executive Director 2019
Director 2019-2023

Preston Jones was appointed as Interim Executive Director of Pine Mountain Settlement School beginning March 2, 2019, upon the departure of Director Geoff Marietta. Since 2016 he had been working with Marietta as assistant director.

Later in 2019, Jones was appointed PMSS director. He remained in that position until January 2023. He was followed by Jason Brashear, who served as interim director beginning in February 2023.

The following is the PRESS RELEASE sent from the School about his new role with Pine Mountain Settlement School.

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Harlan County, Kentucky Announces New Interim Director
36 Highway 510, Pine Mountain, Kentucky 606 558-3571

Pine Mountain, Kentucky February 21, 2019. Pine Mountain Settlement School will welcome Preston Jones in the position of Interim Director effective March 2, 2019, when Dr. Geoff Marietta ends his four years of service directing the school.

Pine Mountain Settlement School, one of the earliest rural settlement schools in the country, has regionally led the way in environmental education and community outreach. The non-profit institution in Harlan County has a strong history in its creative and innovative approaches to Appalachia’s many challenges. Combining the force of its rich history and folkways with new innovations and a deep commitment to education, Pine Mountain’s Directors have opened the door to opportunity for many.

Dr. Marietta has contributed solidly to this history, and Preston Jones has lived it. Deeply connected to the natural and cultural heritage of the region, Preston Jones was born and raised in Harlan County. He comes to the position with solid experience already invested in Pine Mountain Settlement School. He holds a degree from the University of Kentucky in Plant and Soil Sciences and is currently finishing The Master of Public Administration program at Eastern Kentucky University.

Preston moves to the position of Interim Executive Director from his former position of Assistant Director, which he has filled since 2016. In this position, he worked closely with former Director Geoff Marietta on many projects particularly those associated with agriculture. For example, his work with Grow Appalachia, a regional sustainable agriculture program resulted in significant contributions to the development of programs at Pine Mountain Settlement School. He secured over $200,000 in grant funding to significantly expand the school’s community agriculture program, helping over 300 individuals in the community to grow more than 180,000 pounds of food. He also promoted and secured a major grant to start a “Community Kitchen” which has brought many workshops and innovative foodways to the School while stimulating the local economy and talent. The campus kitchen program, under Preston ’s leadership was initiated to seek out more locally grown produce to serve in meals made on campus. This resulted in Pine Mountain investing over $10,000 in local growers over the past two years. The school’s farm also increased acreage under production by 300%, resulting in awards of three new high-tunnels from the USDA to extend the growing season. He also secured $485,000 in funding through the UDSA- NRCS RCPP program to install 40 high tunnels in the region. It was also his responsibility to ensure that Pine Mountain Settlement School meets all regulatory requirements as a commercial restaurant, certified drinking water facility, KY State Nature Preserve and National Historic Landmark with over 800 acres and 26 buildings.

An energetic and productive innovator, Jones said of his new leadership role

… I am truly honored. Having grown up in Harlan County, I often wondered if there was a future for me here. My experience at Pine Mountain has reinforced what I always knew to be true, there is a future for Harlan County and the region, and that Pine Mountain is uniquely positioned to pave the way forward… I’m excited about the trajectory of the School and look forward to working with you all to carry out your remarkable mission.

Preston Jones, will assume the role of Interim Director on March 2nd, 2019. He will be a candidate for the Executive Director position when a formal search is opened by the Board of Pine Mountain as they seek to identify the next leader of the school and to expand their community outreach while staying focused on the mission of the institution to enrich people and enhance lives through place-based education for all ages.

Of his ongoing work with Pine Mountain Settlement School Jones says, “With an abiding love for my home region, I work every day to make our community a better place.”

For more information, contact Pine Mountain Settlement School at (606) 558-3571 on Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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