Staff Bios



Clifton D. Thurmond has been teaching in the Lee’s Summit R7 School District since the beginning of his career in 1999.  Before Lee’s Summit West opened, Mr. Thurmond spent the first five years of his career as the Associate Director of Bands at Lee’s Summit High School.  Mr. Thurmond also teaches 5th and 6th grade band at Summit Pointe Elementary and Cedar Creek Elementary.  In addition to his teaching job, he is also the Worship Leader at Deerbrook Covenant Church in Lee’s Summit.

Mr. Thurmond earned a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1998 and completed his Master of Arts at the University of Missouri, Kansas City in 2007. Mr. Thurmond is a tuba player but was wise enough to marry a better one. He and his wife, Angie, live in Lee’s Summit with their two children, Emory and Miles.


Brandon Johnson is a band director and percussion specialist for Lee’s Summit West High School. He works with the Titan Pride Drumline and directs both the Lee’s Summit West Percussion Ensemble and The Symphonic Band. Before his career in Lee’s Summit, Mr. Johnson spent 12 years in the Independence School District at Truman High School, where he had very similar responsibilities. While in Kansas City, he has been an active teacher, percussion writer/arranger, adjudicator, and performer.

Mr. Johnson has served as the KC Metro Middle School Vice President, percussion coordinator for MCCGA, Board member for NorthWinds Symphonic Band, and he is a founding member of The Kansas City Chiefs Rumble Drumline. Brandon is married to Rachel Johnson, a 6th grade teacher at Hawthorn Hill Elementary.


Mr. Harrel has a B.S. in Music Education from Missouri State University (formerly Southwest Missouri State) and a Master of Arts in Jazz Studies, with an emphasis in arranging and composition, from the University of North Texas.

While at UNT, Mr. Harrel was a teaching fellow for several professors in the jazz studies department including Dan Haerle and Mike Steinel, two leading authors and educators in jazz. After Dan Haerle’s partial retirement in 2002, Mr. Harrel directed The Zebras, a jazz keyboard ensemble formed by Mr. Haerle in 1980.

As an arranger, Mr. Harrel writes regularly for high school bands and jazz bands. He recently composed the title track for an album released by Alex Caselman, former LS West student.

Mr. Harrel teaches jazz band, assists with marching band and is an instructor in Digital Media Technology at Summit Technology Academy.


Jacob Lowry is currently in his fifth year teaching at Lee’s Summit West High School. Outside of the Lee’s Summit West Choral Program, he currently serves as the Kansas City Metro All-State coordinator and spent four seasons singing with Kantorei of Kansas City. He is currently the Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church of Lee’s Summit.

Recently, Jacob had the pleasure of conducting the Kansas City Metro Middle School Honor Choir. His previous positions include Director of Music at Country Club United Methodist Church, Director of Choirs at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School (6-8) in Lawrence, KS and Assistant Choral Director at Lee’s Summit High School (9-12).

Mr. Lowry received his Bachelor of Music Education and Masters of Music in Choral Conducting at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX under the tutelage of Dr. Allen Hightower and Dr. James Franklin. Jacob and his wife, Dr. Laura Lowry, live in Lee’s Summit and share a love for music and teaching.


Katie Fischer is a Choir Director at Lee’s Summit West High School. Katie holds an undergraduate degree in Vocal Music Education from the University of Central Missouri, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She is also a graduate of LSW and is the first alumni to serve as a director in the music department. Katie has served as the assistant conductor of the UCM Women’s Choir as well as the Children’s Choir Director at Woods Chapel Methodist Church. Katie is an active member of both ACDA and NAfME.

Katie is married to Grant Fischer, a Band Director at Odessa High School. They recently added a member to their family, Panda, a rescued border collie mix who they love dearly.


Before coming to Lee’s Summit West, Amy Krinke served as the Assistant Director of Choirs at Blue Springs High School and at Truman High School. She also taught K-8 general music in Albuquerque, NM. She is the former director of the Young MAIsterSingers Children’s Choir and has prepared the MaisterSingers for numerous annual performances with the Kansas City Symphony.

Over the years, choirs under Mrs. Krinke’s direction have consistently earned superior ratings in performance and sight-singing at State Music Festival and were selected to perform on the Missouri Music Educators Annual Convention in 2008.

Mrs. Krinke holds a Bachelor of Music Ed. degree from Wichita State University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1999. Mrs. Krinke is currently serving as the Vice-President for High School Choral Music for the Kansas City Metro MMEA District and is the All-District Choir and All-State Choir Coordinator. She is an active member of MMEA, MENC, and ACDA and serves as a frequent adjudicator across Missouri.


Dr. Li-Hsin Chen joined Lee’s Summit West High School as the staff accompanist in 2016. He maintains an active performing career as a soloist, collaborative pianist, and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. As an enthusiastic collaborative and chamber musician, he enjoys performing both vocal and instrumental works. His accomplishments as a soloist include performing with several orchestras around the globe and winning awards and recognition in competitions.

 During his studies, Dr. Chen was invited to participate in many music festivals and master classes, working with renowned musicians, such as Alfred Brendel, András Schiff, Leon Fleisher, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and Jonathan Biss. Dr. Chen completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance under Dr. Jane Solose in the summer of 2017 at UMKC, and he is currently completing a Master of Music degree in musicology under Dr. William Everett.

He holds a Concert Soloist degree from the Nürnberg Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music degree with Distinctions from the Karlsruhe Conservatory of Music in Germany, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan.






After graduating from Lebanon High School in 1978, Terrin (Gilpin) Pabst spent three years at Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, MO, then transferred to the University of Missouri-Columbia. There she completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocal Music Education, K-12, with piano concentration. Her first position was with the Ft. Zumwalt School District teaching vocal music at St. Peters Elementary School.

She then moved to Independence, MO and taught vocal music at Spring Branch Elementary and Luff Elementary. Her last year there, she married her husband, Damon Pabst. They went into the ministry for the next thirteen years, eventually moving to Texas for eight of those. They have two sons, Josiah and Gage, both of whom attended LSW High School and participated in its instrumental music program.

Upon returning to the Kansas City area, Mrs. Pabst accepted the staff accompanist position in 2004. She continues giving private piano lessons and thoroughly enjoys her work at West with both the students as well as the music staff.

Kirt N. Mosier is a veteran educator who has been with the LSR7 School District since 1995. In addition to his duties at Lee’s Summit West, Mr. Mosier created the Digital Media Technology Center of Excellence for the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. Students from multiple school districts enroll at Summit Tech to learn how to produce music and video for today’s media market.

Mr. Mosier holds a BME degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, as well as a Masters of Music in composition from the same institution.

Mr. Mosier is an internationally active clinician and adjudicator. Mr. Mosier is also a composer and has had works featured at countless venues around the globe.

Mr. Mosier lives in Lee’s Summit with his wife and four children.