Lee Branson - Director of UIL Academics
Lee Branson is from Longview, TX. He attended Kilgore College and The University of Texas at Tyler, participating in choir at both colleges while majoring in biology and minoring in music. He graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington with a B.S. in Biology.
Mr. Branson is secondary science composite certified and taught science for the past 17 years in Hallsville, TX. He also served as the Academic Coordinator for Hallsville I.S.D. for the past nine years where he led his team to two U.I.L. academic state championships (2014, 2016) and several top 5 finishes. While the director of U.I.L. at Hallsville, his team won ten straight district championships and eight of the past ten region championships.
Lee Branson is married to Melissa Branson and has 3 sons, Dustin (27), Noah (21), and Lukas (15). His sons and wife all attended Pine Tree, and Lukas will be the final graduate of the PT class of 2022. Go Pirates!!!
Jennifer Cartwright – Mathematics and Calculator Applications
Hi Everyone, I am Jennifer Cartwright. I have been a math teacher for over 25 years and have been back at Pine Tree for the past 8 years. I began my career at Pine Tree in 1993 and feel like I have come home after teaching in another district for several years. I graduated from UT Tyler in 2012 with a Master's Degree in Math Education. I am married and have two grown sons, Dakota and Montana who live and work here in Longview. I also have three cats who eagerly welcome me home every day. I have a lot of hobbies; watching NASCAR, working out at the gym, crochet, hiking, painting.....
Terri Davis – Spelling and Vocabulary, Ready Writing and Barbara Jordan Essay Contest
Terri Davis coaches Ready Writing, Spelling, and the Barbara Jordan essay contest. She teaches AP Language and Composition, AP Research, and English III. She also serves as the English teacher for the Upward Bound Program, which supports first-generation college students, based at Kilgore College.
Ms. Davis attended Kilgore College and has a B.S. in Communications and English from Stephen F. Austin State University and a M.Ed. in Education Administration from Lamar University. She has two sons who are both Pirates ('18 and '20) and who currently attend LeTourneau, majoring in math and aviation. One of her favorite pastimes is attending athletic and fine arts events. She also sponsors the Books and Breakfast Society Book Club which meets Thursdays at 7:30 am and the DIY Club which meets after school on Thursdays. Both are open to all Pine Tree HS students. If you love writing or just want to practice being a better writer or if you want to join the UIL Spelling team, please stop by Room 809. Ms. Davis would love to have you!
Amber Harrington – Calculator Applications
Hi! My name is Amber Harrington. I teach PreCalculus, Algebra II and Pre-AP Algebra II. I am originally from south Louisiana. I graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering, a minor in Technical Writing, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. I have teaching certifications in Secondary Math and in Dance. In 2016, I graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a Master’s Degree in Natural Sciences (Masters Math + Math Education courses). I am also AACCA safety certified in Cheerleading, and I've previously served 8 years as a proud PTHS Cheerleading Coach!
Guy Kelley – Social Studies
Guy Kelley is a third year Social Studies Teacher at Pine Tree High School. He teaches Psychology, AP Psychology, Sociology, World History and he is the sponsor for the UIL Social Studies Academic Team. He has a passion for teaching about people, relationships, and the means of overcoming our differences. Mr. Kelley grew up in Massachusetts and joined the US Navy at the age of 17. After 6 years of service as a Cryptologist, Mr. Kelley worked briefly as a technician for a large ATM manufacturer. With bigger goals in mind, he decided to go back to school to receive a degree in History and Social Studies from the University of Texas at Tyler.
Mr. Kelley has been married to his best friend and fellow Navy veteran, Jessica, for 14 years. He is proud to serve his Pine Tree community and seeks to instill in his students the skills necessary for life in the 21st century.
Keri McBride – Literary Criticism
Keri McBride is from Idaho Falls, ID. She graduated with a B.A. in Humanities from the College at Southeastern in Wake Forest, NC. She is in her seventh year of teaching and is expected to graduate with her M.A. in English with an emphasis in higher education from Grand Canyon University in July of 2021. Mrs. McBride joined the Pine Tree family after moving with her husband to Texas, and they have been enjoying the warmer winter weather and tasty Texan barbeque ever since.
Karen Ritch – Accounting
I look forward to a great year teaching Principles of Business, Marketing and Finance, Entrepreneurship and Accounting. I have a varied background in finance, accounting and marketing. I have worked as an accountant and have a CPA. I have also worked as a Business Analyst and Marketing manager. My husband and I have had a small business for many years and I hope to share insights that I have from experience and education to give students a solid foundation as they seek to enter the world of business. My interests include reading, writing, playing tennis, participating in church activities, and playing music. I also enjoy watching sports including football, baseball and tennis. Go Pirates!
Collin Robertson – Current Issues and Events
Greetings! My name is Collin Robertson and I am the Social Studies Lead Teacher here at Pine Tree High School. I currently teach AP US History, AP Government, US Government, and AP Seminar. This will be my seventh year at Pine Tree High, and I couldn't be more excited! I am not a native East Texan- I was raised in McKinney, TX, just outside of Dallas. I received my degree in History from The University of Texas at Tyler with a minor in Social Studies.
I am about to celebrate my fifth year of marriage to my wife, Tabitha, who is a teacher at Pine Tree Middle School. We both live here in Longview with our daughter, Evelyn, and two dogs, Jax and Nattie (pictured). In my free time, I enjoy reading, shooting sporting clays, playing with my dogs, and the occasional round of golf. I also enjoy traveling. I have so far had the chance to visit Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, and several other European countries.
I want my students to look forward to coming to my class and enjoy learning about Social Studies and critical thinking. I truly believe it is one of the most important subjects they take throughout their education. My goal is to teach these future leaders what is means to be an American and the responsibilities of being a citizen in the modern world. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns you might have in the future.
Caity Rutledge - Animation
Kilgore College is where I began my college career and I am proud to say that I was Rangerette. I obtained my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree and teacher certification from Stephen F. Austin where I was a member of the Pom Squad. My Master of Arts degree is from Texas Woman’s University where I focused on Constructivism and Differentiated Instruction in a Fine Arts classroom. I began my career in 2006 teaching Art 1, Pre-AP Art, and AP Art at Mt. Vernon High School. Being with Pine Tree High School since 2011 has allowed me the opportunity to teach technology courses where students can claim digital media as a means of connecting, communicating, creating, and learning.
Ryan Stokes - Debate
Hello! My name is Ryan Stokes. This is my fifth year at Pine Tree, and I coach speech and debate. I’m originally from Nacogdoches. TX, and a proud graduate from Central Heights ISD and East Texas Baptist University. I competed in speech and debate in high school and continued in college. I love working with students and helping them see both sides of an issue. I believe speech and debate raises the academic achievement of every student who competes in it. If you have a student who loves to keep up with news and politics; I would love to talk with them about joining our debate team. Go Pirates!
Deborah Wait – Number Sense and Mathematics
Thank you for visiting my page. I attended college at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia on a basketball scholarship. While at Liberty, I earned a degree in Mathematics Education. Next, I earned a master's degree in Natural Sciences with an emphasis in Math at Stephen F. Austin State University. I have earned a Master Teacher Certification, and I am currently the Lead Math Teacher for Pine Tree High School. I also coach the Math/Science Team. I have been teaching at Pine Tree High School for 25 years now, which is unbelievable to me. I teach AP Calculus, Dual Credit College Algebra, Pre AP PreCalculus, Math/Science, and Dual Credit Statistics.
I am married to Thomas Wait, who coaches football and boys soccer at Kilgore High School, and have been married to him for 35 years. We have four children, three of which are doctors and one is a teacher/coach. We have five grandchildren with two more on the way this year.
Lisa Wright – Poetry and Prose Interpretation
Mrs. Wright is a first generation college grad. Her greatest gift is the ability to see student potential and connect students with meaningful and challenging opportunities for their futures! Our Pine Tree Theatre is a family dedicated to building skills to use in relationships and in life!
Mrs. Wright is excited to begin her 20th year teaching Theatre. She has also taught English, Speech, and Finance in HI, CA, and TX. She has enjoyed 36 years as a performer and/or director in high school, college, and the community. Fine Arts is a way of life for the Wright family. Chloe is a Music Education major and Timmy is a Musical Theatre major.
As a Marine Corps spouse and Accredited Financial Counselor, Mrs. Wright spent 12 years assisting military non-profit organizations by counseling, training, and raising funds through the Arts for emergency financial assistance to families affected by 9/11 and subsequent deployments.
Melissa Wright – Journalism and Latino History Essay Competition
This is my 30th year in a classroom of some sort. I started my teaching career after graduating from Texas A&M with degrees in Psychology and English. My first couple of years were at districts south of San Antonio. I moved back to East Texas and taught in public school here while I completed a degree in Spanish from UT-Tyler. I was given the opportunity to move into Adult Vocational Education at Kilgore College, and I spent 12 years as an instructor at the East Texas Police Academy. In 2015 I transitioned back to the public school system and taught English IV at PTHS. This is my 7th year here, and I am excited to be a part of the English team.
I have one son who works on a ranch in Wyoming, another son who is completing his Master's degree in Business at ACU while working at a car dealership in Abilene, and a third son who has just completed his training as an Automotive Technician at Kilgore College. My step-daughter has completed her PhD in Physical Therapy and is licensed to practice. She has moved back to Longview area and is working as a PT in the area. My husband and I have a cattle business, and we enjoy hunting and training dogs as well as the cowboy work the business requires.