Link Elementary School Principal Justin Jones died at the age of 34 in an automobile crash May 1, Spring ISD officials announced in a news release May 4.

According to the release, Jones joined SISD in July 2017 when he was named principal of Link Elementary. Prior to his tenure at SISD, Jones served as an assistant principal and instruction coordinator in Houston ISD, as well as a middle school special education inclusion teacher and boys athletic coach in Victoria ISD.

He received his Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from The University of Texas at San Antonio and his Master of Education in administration and supervision from the University of Houston - Victoria.

"We are so deeply saddened by Justin's passing," SISD Superintendent Rodney Watson said during a special meeting with SISD staff May 2. "He was a caring leader, devoted friend, loving husband and father, and we are all devastated by this loss."

According to a statement posted by Link Elementary Assistant Principal Tangy Stith, Jones and his wife, Kellie, had recently welcomed a son to their new family of four.

"This is a very sad time for the Jones family, the Link community and the entire district," Stith said in a statement. "We understand how difficult this loss is and want to support our Link students and parents by making counselors available to assist remotely."

Under Jones' leadership, the release states Link Elementary's accountability rating climbed 24 points from a 64, a D grade, in 2017-18 to an 88, a B grade, in 2018-19.

"Justin was a truly remarkable leader," said Natasha Watson, assistant superintendent for elementary schools - Zone 2, in a statement. "He truly loved his job and his teachers and his Link family."