Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Decline and Fall of the C. J. Huff Empire

That woman!

The last thing Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff wanted to see was former Irving Elementary Principal Debbie Fort on the board of education and he told that to anyone who was still listening to him.

She was out to ruin him, to destroy everything he had built in the school district and she did not like him. How could anyone not like C. J. Huff? After all, it was his vision that increased the graduation rates (the community never cared about students graduating until he arrived), helped provide clothes and food for the poor through his Bright Futures initiative (before he arrived, children were allowed to remain naked and starving) and he had his picture taken with every kindergarten student.

What was there not to love?

Right before the election, .C. J. Huff paid a visit to the Jasper County Collector's office where he checked on any records having to do with Debbie Fort. She had to be hiding something.

She wasn't.

She received more votes than any other candidate.

"I can't work with that woman," C. J. told a board member, who has been a solid supporter of the superintendent since he arrived six years ago.

"You are going to have to work with her, C. J. You need to man up."

As he heard those words coming from an unexpected source, C. J. Huff's face turned beet red. This was not how things were supposed to work out. The days when he was the hero of the Joplin Tornado seemed like they took place in another lifetime.

What was supposed to be the crowning achievement for C. J. Huff- the opening of his 21st Century Joplin High School has turned out to be a nightmare.

Several weeks ago, during a planning session for the unveiling of Joplin High School, the biggest worry among the group, which consisted mostly of upper administration and the school's ever-growing public relations team, was what they could do to draw national attention back to the school district for the first time since President Barack Obama spoke at the 2012 JHS  graduation.

Could they possibly bring the president back here for the opening of the new high school- America's high school as C. J. Huff had called it?

The biggest concern among a few of the Huff team attending the meeting was that the president would probably opt to go to Moore, Oklahoma, instead, for the opening of that tornado-stricken community's elementary school to replace the one that was destroyed, along with the lives of seven schoolchildren. Moore was going to be stiff competition.

Now, the idea of Barack Obama returning to Joplin for the opening of the high school is about the furthest thing from anyone's mind. Even if the president could be convinced to come, no one can give him an exact date. The opening of school has already been pushed back a couple of weeks and new problems continue to crop up on a regular basis at the construction site.

And the cost of the building. Though in his dealings with the media, C. J. Huff confidently proclaims that the cost of the project will be covered through a combination of FEMA money,donations, and of course, the $62 million bond issue, the largest in school district history, he has already confided to a small number that he does not know how the district is going to pay for the total cost.

It's just a temporary thing, he insists. After all, there are always more matching government grants available and there's always the FEMA money- it will arrive some time soon.

The only problem for C. J. Huff has been that the spending spree the district has been on, one that started even before the tornado, has finally come to the public's attention. The public has been made aware of the extravagant and frequent out-of-state trips, the added layers of costly administrators and people whose jobs are to promote the Joplin Schools and C. J. Huff.

The awareness has increased that many jobs, started originally with grants, have remained long after the grants are gone, supported by money which was originally intended for the classroom.

How in the world, people are wondering, could the Huff Administration ask for more than $10 million in the federal Race to the Top application, get rejected, and still add nearly everything that was on its wish list? How in the world could that application have included a notation that less than six months after passing a $62 million bond issue by only 45 votes, the administration was already readying a tax levy increase proposal?

The donations have dwindled and the spending problem, one noted by successful school board candidates Randy Steele and Debbie Fort during the recent campaign, is becoming more and more pronounced. It is taking longer and longer for local companies to get paid by the school district and some are refusing to give the district credit.

The Huff Administration has already been cutting corners on the construction projects and is preparing to jettison employees to make money. The casualties are not going to include the teaching/learning coaches or the additional administrators and public relations staff, or those associated with Bright Futures. Janitorial and secretarial jobs are on the chopping block.

More money is being saved by the decision to start all schools late and trim 10 days off the 2014-2015 school calendar, even though there is no reason to delay the start of school for elementary or middle school students. By cutting 10 days off the schedule for everyone, the district will not have to pay janitorial staff, bus drivers, clerical workers, or cooks.

More money will be saved with the departure of a number of experienced veteran teachers who will be numbered among the more than 100 expected to leave the school district at the end of the year- the third consecutive year that the number leaving has been at the triple-digit level. For the most part, the teachers will replaced by first or second-year teachers, who do not make nearly as much money.

At this point, Huff has not decided whether this year's departures are due to delayed reaction from the tornado, spouses taking jobs in other communities, or if they are simply teachers who cannot live up to his lofty expectations.

More money will be saved by not replacing some of the teachers and increasing class size.

In one of her first acts as the new president of the Joplin R-8 Board of Education Annie Sharp put newcomer Debbie Fort in charge of school finances. Closer scrutiny will be paid to the high-spending ways of the Huff Administration, ways that had previously been rubber-stamped by a never-ending series of 7-0 board votes.

Debbie Fort looking over his shoulder is just one of the problems C. J. Huff faces. His 7-0 lock on votes is likely gone forever. Not only has Mrs. Fort been skeptical of many of Huff's initiatives, but other board members are starting to question him and are also beginning to doubt his word.

They have been made aware over the past few months of information that the superintendent deliberately kept from them

-They were not told about lawsuits against the school district until they were revealed by KOAM or the Turner Report.

-They were never told that former tech employee Ronny Justin Myers has pornographic photos of 10 Joplin High School girls on his laptop, pictures he obtained through his job supervising the student computers.

-They have not been told about the full extent of the financial situation facing the school district.

And now they are beginning to question some of the directions in which Huff has guided them in the past.


Looking for another job?

C. J. Huff denies it. "I didn't apply for the Springfield job," he says.

He says it, but no one believes him and they have good reason for it. Sources in Springfield tell the Turner Report that while Huff's resume looks impressive, it was negative information about him from some of those who were questioned in Joplin that cost him a higher-paying job in a bigger school district.

And while his name and resume are circulating, he not the hot property he was in the year following the tornado.

Time is running out for a man who seemed to be on top of the world only 12 months ago.

When he arrives at the fortress at 32nd and Duquesne each day, C. J. Huff finds himself surrounded by people who were put into place by departed Assistant Superintendent Angie Besendorfer who still holds their loyalty. Some of her people have already left what they see as a sinking ship. Others have indicated they will not be there much longer.

The principals have little or no connection to Huff, who left all  of the hiring decisions to Besendorfer while he concentrated on Bright Futures, the graduation rate, his speeches about his role in saving Joplin before and after the tornado, and his nearly $100,000 thank-you tour.

When Huff has made a decision concerning the principals, his reasoning is questionable. Administration sources tell the Turner Report that Huff practically put his own job on the line to stop the board from firing East Middle School Principal Bud Sexson.

His main reason for going to bat for Sexson?

Multiple sources tell the Turner Report Sexson would already be gone, except Huff blew his top when he read in the Turner Report that Sexson might possibly be fired.

Because of Huff's support, which was questioned, but ultimately supported by board members, the district stuck with a principal who has no support in his building, has driven off many of the veteran teachers, and has been the subject of formal and informal complaints.

Administration sources have indicated that Huff blames all of his problems on other people, with the people at the top of the list being Debbie Fort and the person who is writing this post.

Huff, always the martyr, has told multiple people he cannot understand what Debbie Fort has against him and has said, "I don't know why Randy Turner is after me."

He has spent considerable taxpayer money trying to find out who the sources are for Turner Report posts, most of which he can quote verbatim, including the headlines and what days they were posted.

The people surrounding him do not know which C. J. Huff they will see when he comes to work, but the frequency of his shouting at visitors, especially those he feels are against him, has been increasing.

Administration sources say the most welcome sight at the Administration Building is the arrival of a television reporter.

Publicity always brings a smile to C. J. Huff.

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Anonymous said...

If the board went along with the spending and the road show....shame on them too. Why we let outsiders come in to our schools, or lead our town, and follow without questioning is maddening. These people are put there to serve. Why do things have to be "uncovered" because action is not taken immediately? What a shame. Just like the city manager and those that have done questionable activities.....why keep an obviously self-seeking, dishonest superintendent?

Anonymous said...

Great post. Huff suggested during last year's hearing that firing Randy Turner was a decision that would allow him to sleep at night. I suspect the opposite has occurred, but I also have my doubts that CJ would make the connection; even if he did think of it it's unlikely he would acknowledge it.

I've been somewhat encouraged at the role this blog has had in the matter. I've been convinced over time that people with a vested interest in the subject (motivated voters, employees in the relevant industry) do pay attention. There was a scene in Howard Stern's movie where the ratings revealed that listeners who hated Stern were often paying as much attention to him as the people who liked him. When I think back to the frequency of comments on the Turner Report over the past couple of years that "no one pays attention", I am reminded of this scene. Some people have mixed feelings or disagree with The Turner Report, but they still seem to be aware of it. The influence is real.

As far as larger life lessons about our time with Huff, I would like to point out that it's a poor leader who cannot handle dissent. Loyalty and respect are qualities you cultivate, they can't be demanded or forced into existence. The way you cultivate respect is to treat others with respect.

Think about parenting, for instance - parents are the decision makers in the family, but they are also expected to act as protectors and caregivers to their family. Employees are not children, but a similar relationship exists - leaders are the decision makers, but they are expected to protect and care for their employees.

Huff is in a position where the people under his charge include school staff plus the children and parents of the community. District employees have often felt these past few years like they were being targeted and pressured rather than respected or listened to. Parents have been closed off from board members and administrators and don't feel like their concerns were listened to.

Some people take the attitude that if you are the boss, what you say goes and that's that. It's fine if you feel that way, but the consequence of that is that you will not inspire respect or loyalty. Even in situations where that structure is useful, like the military or law enforcement, the guys on the ground still need some assurance that their superior is concerned for their well-being. The school district isn't the military, however, and is at least somewhat beholden to the parents of the community that is served by it. Huff and guys like Flowers are reaping what they sewed with all that "this is your boss" stuff and behind-closed-doors meetings. They went too far into an authoritarian direction and lost touch with the community and the employees they serve. That is why respect and loyalty wanes, both from staff and the public.

Anonymous said...

CJ Huff tried and failed to destroy Randy Turner with lies. Because of that Randy Turner has been able to destroy CJ Huff with the truth. Life's funny that way.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Turner, I want to apologize to you for waiting so long to subscribe to the Turner Report. After the work you have done this past week, I decided it was time to support what you have been doing. This article is a masterpiece, plain and simple. If this had been the only thing you wrote the entire week, it would have been worth the $10 and much more, but even for someone who has delivered the goods as often as you have, this week has been spectacular. Last night's story on John Putnam's letter for the Sarcoxie School Board pervert, the follow-up on the man who killed the Sheldons, your commentary on the Ben Rosenberg lapdog story, your writing on Common Core and standardized tests, you have certainly had a busy week and this following your work uncovering Billy Long's transgressions, Wallace-Bajjali, and the 1717 Marketplace developer's indictment, not to mention your previous coverage of the Joplin school district. This is the best news site in southwest Missouri and I for one appreciate it. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

I remember last summer after Mr. Turner's hearing that CJ Huff said all of the Turner Report nonsense would be done by the time school starts. Now he is telling people that he knew when he fired Mr. Turner that it would follow him for the rest of his life, but he had to do it because Mr. Turner is so evil and it would have been wrong to have left a man like him in the classroom. Sure, that's what you were thinking CJ. You are a loser and a delusional loser at that.

Anonymous said...

Where are Carol Stark and the Joplin Globe on all of this? CJ. Huff is leaving the school district bankrupt and they are filing sunshine requests about Ben Rosenberg and his dog.

Anonymous said...

Turner, you need to be fair. There are good things that can be said about CJ and I will write another comment when I think of any.

Anonymous said...

I'm subscribing, too. I read this blog every day and you can find things in here that you will never find in the Joplin Globe.

Anonymous said...

This is a bunch of lies. There is no way things could be this bad. Nothing has been written about this in the Globe and nothing has been on TV or on KZRG. It isn't true and someone should stop you from writing these damnable lies.

Anonymous said...

Go look at the district's documentation for teacher retention and academic progress since Huff arrived. Then, just so you will be able to accept that Huff-as-myth is over, look at the documentation that Turner has posted over the last year. It is all there. You can then go double check it on various government web sites.

Get over it. Huff is a con man and you fell for it. Don't blame Turner for telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

9:34 submits a subtle yet crafty attack on the local media by engaging in faux concern trolling.

Anonymous said...

9:34, let the record point you in the direction of Speck and the issues at MSSU. Neither was that story covered by the Joplin Globe, but it came to pass that Speck was removed as president of that once-esteemed university.

The Globe unintentionally parodies itself by releasing a video of Rosenberg getting pulled over with a dog on his lap. Stark talks a big talk about ethics and being a journalist, but is in fact easily won over by flattery and only wields the tool of journalism in favor of her personal interests. The Rosenberg tape is the clearest indicator yet of how personal and petty she actually is, no better than the other city politicians playing little games with each other under the false pretense of their own importance.

Anonymous said...

It is time for this community to take a stand. CJ has a long history of tromping on the little person to propel himself higher up. He has abused the public trust long enough. The charges:
1. He has bankrupted the district despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in bond money, insurance, FEMA, and contributions.
2. He has run off too many of our good teachers and destroyed learning. This is documented in the district report card.
3. He has focused solely on numbers of graduates, and not the quality of graduates.
4. He has surrounded himself with bullies and spies in order to keep things quiet, including that he had a pedophile in control of computer security--with the pedophile in possession of nude pictures of high school girls.
5. He has encouraged, participated in, and allowed bullying in the district, hence Mike Johnson's activities resulting in a law suit, and his other upper level administrators calling parents and students in an attempt to bully them into silence, as well as his attempts to bully staff. Harassment is illegal.
6. Huff has destroyed our credibility with voters and businesses. You cannot fail to give what you promised in programs and progress and fail to pay your bills without this result.
7. He started his staff cuts with the bus drivers by taking away their benefits. He tried again with construction workers, but they had union protection. It is no surprise to anyone that he will now start cutting secretaries, custodial staff, and resource officers before he would even consider cutting his numbers in the AD building and in his league of spies.
8. He has failed to support his teaching staff. They have not had measurable raises since before the recession. Many are leaving because they cannot afford to stay anymore. He has smothered them in programs, taken away their resources, and given them far more "helpers" than anyone ever needed anywhere. He has failed them.
9. He has replaced most of the good administrators with bullies. And they have fulfilled his and Besendorfer's wishes. Illegal and unethical firings are the norm, as well as illegal and unethical hiring practices.
10. He has lied to the public. The buildings have many structural issues. Cabinets fall off of walls. Roofs leak. Doors don't lock. Wiring is cheap. He has caused our children to fall behind academically. He has allowed and encouraged the graduation of students who have not fulfilled their obligations. He has had documentation for attendance and credits altered to keep up appearances, as well as not documenting other issues so that they won't show up on DESE reports. He has misappropriated funds, private and public. He has robbed Peter to pay Paul too many times, which is what his funding search for a preschool is all about--the delaying of the inevitable. He has lied to his own school board, and they know it, but they have allowed him to stay rather than look the fool and fire him. That must change.

It is past time for Dr. Huff to leave Joplin. It is way past time for Dr. Huff to face the consequences of his actions. It is past time to put learning ahead of media shows. Do something, Board of Education. We cannot afford for our children to lose another year. Send him down the road. Today.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has not done so should study the Race to the Top application. It will clearly show that Huff is spending millions of dollars already from what he applied for in the application. Generally, we wait until we have the money in hand before we spend it. Huff spent it with the thought of repaying it from the RTTT funds. He surely didn't believe that he wouldn't be given these funds. After all, he had federal officials here praising his vision. The president offered him praise. Who could turn him down? Someone looking for facts and evidence of transparency and progress, that's who turned him down. Anyone with common sense could see it was not an honest effort. No one who has been paying attention to his actions, instead of his weeping, the last several years will be surprised at all.

Anonymous said...

The Common Sense Approach to Spending Cuts

1. Cut out the corpulent fat at the AD Bldg. Start right at the top and cut the man whose salary far exceeds the vast majority of districts in this state--including the wealthy districts.
2. Cut the Big Man's immediate staff. Even if you choose to keep a few of the positions, cut the people holding them now. No one will ever trust a single one of them. Who ever heard of a school district that has an HR person as second in command--and no education experience other than unethical firing and harassment of staff? Sheer stupidity. A cupcake won't cure that kind of distrust.
3. Get the rest of those mysterious employees down to the size so they, too, can squeeze back into their former home. We do not need the vast majority of the people working at Castle Modot, because the vast majority represent programs that no one ever needed. Slash those jobs. There is no need to have three or four or more SPED people in that building. We do not need three or four or more people in charge of curriculum and PD. We don't need Bright Futures. Let the local places of worship handle donations to the poor. That should be their whole mission. We do not need more than 10-20 people, tops. Put your money in the classrooms across the district. That's where the learning happens. Everything else is just waste.

Cut the fat. Get it out of the system. It's killing the whole district to support so much extra weight. Don't make us get out our torches and pitchforks.

Anonymous said...

This is the best blog yet about the school situation. Sums the problems up nicely. It's time for a change. Starting at the top.

Anonymous said...

CJ Huff has made the Joplin School District a laughing stock, and the Board has stood back and let it happen. We'll be thinking about that tomorrow as we watch our kids graduate. I hope it won't impair their futures too much as word of the corruption in R8 spreads. And I'm paying so much extra tax for this kind of a district?

Anonymous said...

And yet none of this is half as bad as what is taking place in the Diamond school district at the hands of their lunatic board of education. But, with no media writing about it, it continues to destroy the district with teachers leaving in droves. It is so bad that many are even looking at Joplin just to get out.

Anonymous said...

Blah,blah,blah,....Huff goes to work on Monday. The votes are not there to remove him. Sorry to say.

Mari Winn said...

Why is everyone commenting anonymously here? Come oit of the closet,

Anonymous said...

Cj huff is worthless and so is the hole administration staff... They are not doin there job for the kid they are doing it for the money in there pocket.. And EVERYONE IN ADMINISTRATION ARE BULLYS AND ITS THERE WAY OR NO WAY... JOPLIN SCHOOL IS THE WORST SCHOOL!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This would explain why temps are being used at East Middle School. It would also explain why five utility jobs were recently created to replace the bus side , kitchen staff and bus rivers that are usually hired during the summer. That move will leave several school district employee without a job at the schools this summer. What happens when these employees find jobs elsewhere and do not return.. The custodial staff has already lost 11 positions in the last cut. It is expected to keep the schools clean but cut the manpower to do it. Mr. Johnson once said, "if the classrooms have to suffer too make the public area look nice, then the classrooms will have to suffer. I am sorry I have to comment anonymously. But I am a school employee and there would be retribution just for reading this, much less replying.

Anonymous said...

These are not lies. Huff has manipulated the truth for a long time. I would say ask sny Joplin employee....but they are scared to talk for fear of losing their job

dale said...

Mari, are you homophobic? Just asking .

Anonymous said...

Anonymity protects those who are afraid of retribution. Mr. Turner is an example of someone who has experienced that retribution, although there are other examples that are less public.

It's very sad that administrators will exploit the people on the bottom of the totem pole rather than take a pay cut personally. If each administrator took a slight cut, they could still live more than comfortably but also demonstrate some compassion for those who depend on every dollar. I know that this would still not be enough to compensate for the amount being spent or cover the shell game of applying for grants to cover bases after the fact. If fiscal responsibility were a consideration, we wouldn't be in this mess to begin with.

The generosity given to Huff and the district post-tornado from the community and around the world has been abused. It's like receiving a one-time gift and then adjusting your lifestyle as if those gifts were a regular income, forever scrambling to keep up appearances.

Do other members of the board see through him now? The best liar believes his own lies and can be quite convincing.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that every member of the board deserves blame. Maybe some, and surely most of them do. But I've known Anne Sharp for years. She isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, maybe. But she really cares about the students and the teachers. She's very supportive of them, and she gives her time and volunteers at the schools and attends the events (plays, games, etc., etc.). Maybe she went along with Huff's lies for a while because she didn't know better---and hell, A LOT OF people were snowed, not just the board, even Randy had praise for him in the past---but I think that's over now, because she has seen the undeniably terrible effect his decisions and policies have had on teachers and students. She's not an idiot, by any means. Now she's president, and one of the first things she did was put Fort in charge of reviewing the financials? That sounds pretty smart to me. Maybe Anne's dumb like a fox. And just maybe she can turn this around.

Anonymous said...

Admin has cut paint crews and other staff with Mike Johnson's goal being to contract it out cheaper. He really doesn't care about people at all. He really doesn't care about classrooms and how to make them work well.

Anonymous said...

Much like Mr. Turner, some thoughts and a couple of questions:
1. Bright Futures was a fabulous idea and was being implemented very well before the tornado. Needs were being met for students and their families quickly. It tied everyone together so all resources could be tapped. It also was a great thing to already have in place after the tornado hit. Somehow, it has morphed into something else. It has become a focus to the point that anyone in R8-land can't be associated with something that hasn't come from Bright Futures. Seems that unless Bright Futures has an idea, it won't be a good one.
2. Dr. Huff needs to watch his very first opening day speech. If that wasn't real, he needs to make it so. If it was real, he needs to take a look at what he's become.
3. Dr. Besendorfer set much of this mess in motion. She wanted the superintendent job but didn't get it. She and her troops often made fun of Dr. Huff and the other administrators. It was often heard throughout the district, "Dr. Huff, who?" because he was busy with Bright Futures, Chamber of Commerce, etc. while she was the one making all the school decisions. She was the one who came up with the idea to have directors instead of assistant superintendents because they would be cheaper. Of course, if you have too many, that's not cheaper.
3. Now that the $1 lease Jay Nixon got the district for the MODOT building is up, what is going to happen? Are tax payers going to be ripped off even more? That building was supposed to be sold because MODOT needed to make cuts.
4. Why doesn't the board report resignations and retirements in their minutes any more? Is that so no one really knows how many teachers are leaving?
5. How many Title 1 teachers have been cut? This is an area that has been abused for a very long time. Is all that money being spent on programs instead of teachers?
6. Please stop asking for names. We can't tell you who we are or we will lose our jobs. These people don't just take your job, they go out to destroy you.
7. The district needs to get back on track with the focus being kids succeeding. There should be instruction and supports that meet the needs of every learner. And there should be supports in place to help the teachers be sure that the students succeed. We don't need more tests or numbers crunched. We don't need more technology pieces or meetings or mandates to make a show. We need to let everyone do the jobs they were intended to do: building people need to take care of our facilities, teachers need to teach and administrators need to monitor, get resources and support all of that so our kids can REALLY be learning the way kids are supposed to.

Anonymous said...

I have been a long time reader of the Turner Report and I have not always agreed with the slant Randy takes on some of the things he writes about. I have never doubted that he sincerely believes what he is saying, though, and he has always been open and honest with his readers.

I apologize in advance for the length of this comment, but I have been thinking about this for quite a while since Randy was first kicked out of his classroom.

I, like most of you, first heard about it in the Joplin Globe, and the Globe's first story featured hints that obviously came from C. J. Huff that this was another typical teacher sex story.

Then Randy hit back with his tape of his interview with Tina Smith and his refutation of the charges against him.

It should have been obvious to anyone from that point on that this was a C.J. Huff vendetta, but it was allowed to continue anyway.

I have talked to people who were told by C.J. during that time to just wait, there would be more information coming.

We are still waiting.

Randy was forced to endure a public circus. I have read the transcript on the download that Randy made available. Randy was supported by teachers, parents, and students. C.J.'s witnesses were administrators and their stories were obviously scripted.

Randy was kicked out after a four minute interview that did not give him a chance to explain anything. He was accused of corrupting his students because he had assigned them to download and read his book, yet they were never able to find one student who had ever read the book.

Not one student. And they had the nerve to continue, saying that he had dangled it in front of the students because it was available online and he had advertised it.

Anonymous said...

-SORRY, it would not allow me to post my whole message, so I'm continuing it here.-

Even worse, they attacked Randy's Scars from the Tornado book, a book that any other school district would have taken pride in and promoted, but not in Joplin where all publicity has to go through CJ Huff. At first, they said he had not received permission from parents, then when he showed the permission slips, they changed their story to saying he had not received permission from administration.

Yet the testimony clearly showed he had kept his principal, Bud Sexson, informed every step of the way. Not only was Randy's own testimony on the subject detailed, but he had two parents, both PTO officers, say that Sexson had spoken positively of the project nearly a year before he says he first heard of it.

That would indicate that C.J suborned perjury in his zeal to get rid of Randy and let's face it, the only reason Randy was targeted was because the superintendent in No Child Left Alive, a work of fiction, is a buffoon. C.J.'s feelings were hurt and he was going to make sure Randy paid.

So not only does Bud Sexson flat out lie and I would say C.J. paid him back for his lies by saving his job for him, but even more despicably, C.J. orchestrated a group of his top administrators to damage Randy's character in the worst possible way.

Tina Smith accused Randy of grooming students because they were all supportive and protective of him. This was clearly the message C.J. wanted the public to have and he knew it would be the headline in the Joplin Globe and on the TV coverage. Of course, the students were supportive of him. He was a damned good teacher and still should be. That is not grooming, that was the affection and respect Randy had earned.

In the transcript, you can see that Randy's lawyer quite rightly went ballistic when she heard this baseless accusation being made. She objected and the board president Jeff Flowers, clearly in the tank for CJ Huff, said each time the lawyer objected that the objection was noted and allowed the character assassination to continue. While Flowers was the one who made the decision, I was equally astonished as I read the transcript, that no other board member spoke up to question what was happening right in front of them.

They were watching Randy's teaching career being ruined and not one of them said a single word to stop it. No one objected. If C.J. had any evidence of the kind of behavior that Tina Smith was hinting at, he would have produced evidence. It was another C.J. Huff lie bought and paid for.

Anonymous said...

Part 3

The original complaint against Randy was made by Lisa Orem, another of C.J.'s administrative team, who told a convoluted story about how she had uncovered this obscure website Room 210 Discussion.I have talked to people who know Lisa Orem. She does not have the computer skills or knowledge to have found that. Someone may have showed it to her, but it is a little hard to believe that she uncovered it on her own. Randy later reported that Lisa Orem does not even have the certification to have the highly paid job she holds now. More highly suspect testimony bought and paid for by CJ Huff.

The most ridiculous testimony was provided by Klista Rader, the head of technology for the district. She testified that Randy tagged more pictures of girls on Facebook than boys. The head of technology and she ignored the fact that other people can tag pictures on Facebook and that is what happened. Turner was called back to the stand and said he had never tagged a photo of anyone. Klista Rader's testimony, again bought and paid for by C.J. Huff.

The coup de grace was administered by C.J. himself. If Randy's hearing had been shown on Jet 14, Randy would still be teaching and C.J. Huff would already be out on his rear.

We have all heard how CJ cried about the thought of Randy remaining in the classroom. It is hard to believe anyone buys his crying act any more, but there is so much more in his testimony.

He says he found nothing about educational issues in No Child Left Alive, yet the entire book is about that. Much of that educational satire deals with issues that directly deal with his mismanagement of the system, including manipulation of graduation statistics, public relations over substance, meaningless professional development, lack of discipline, lack of support for teachers, and more.

To buy that the only things that struck him about the book were the sex scenes, is either an indictment of CJ Huff's veracity, his reading skills, or what he is looking for when he opens a book.

End of Part 3

Anonymous said...

Part 4
CJ testified that he would not want his daughter to have Randy as a teacher. That is a shame since she would have at least been exposed to values and integrity, something she doesn't appear to be receiving from her father.

CJ also makes remarks about Randy writing about where his books are on the Amazon charts and is dismissive of it. Why does it matter so much to him. Most of us can see Randy's mentions as providing more publicity for his book, something writers need to do. What did that have to do with anything?

Perhaps the worst thing C.J. did was to testify that the case on Randy had been turned over to local and federal law enforcement as if there was some actual crime that had been committed and then C.J. said that the board could not take a chance on allowing Randy to keep his job. How would they feel, he said, if they allowed him to stay and something happened to a student?

C.J. planted the seeds with his lies about the authorities. From what Randy has written, it looks like the only connection the FBI and the police have with Randy's case was a silly message that was put on the East Middle School PTO Facebook page paraphrasing the catch phrase from No Child Left Alive, if the shooter doesn't get them the East Middle School administration will.

Randy wrote that a PTO officer took the message down immediately because he thought someone was trying to cause problems for Randy, which is exactly what happened. Bud Sexson put the school on lockdown because of that silly message and then they were able to call in on the FBI and the police. Randy wrote that he had never been contacted by law enforcement concerning anything about his case. His last dealing with the police was when Tina Smith had a police officer who was assigned to the school escort him out of the building in full view of his students and his fellow teachers.

There is so much more I want to say. The fact that C.J. Huff, Bud Sexson, and the rest of these people are still receiving large paychecks and ruining our schools at the expense of me and other Joplin taxpayers, while Randy Turner may never teach again makes me angry and it should make every person in the Joplin school district angry.

I have read what one comment said about Ann Sharp and if her time as president of the board of education is going to include meaningful change, she cannot allow C.J. Huff, Bud Sexson, Tina Smith, and the rest of these people to continue hold jobs in our school system. If they are so willing to lie to the board and to the public and we are seeing more and more of their lies piling up one on another and they are willing to destroy someone's life simply because CJ was embarrassed by something someone wrote or he has a friend who needs a job, then why should we support anything the district wants.

One big step and one that would meet with resounding approval in the Joplin community would be to apologize to Randy Turner and put him back where he belongs, teaching eighth grade communication arts at East Middle School.

Anonymous said...

Anne Sharp was accused by Besendorfer and friends of being too involved.
Flowers was just too full of himself. Thank God and Gray Hound he's gone.
Kimbrough has been ignored.
Sticklen is invisible.
Willcoxon was almost invisible.
Steele weenied.
Now, let's see if Fort and Banwart can begin to make things real and open.
Everyone knows this is a mess. I want to see if the board and administrators are willing to admit they've created and allowed this mess to happen and then get to work cleaning it up.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted it to be known that this is not the first time Huff is going to cut secretarial and custodial staff. Every year there are fewer secretaries and custodians district wide while increasing the workload for each staff member and overtime is forbidden. Every one of Turner's reports on the district have been so accurate.

Anonymous said...

Best thing for Huff to do is let the kids have their day today. He should announce he is leaving at 5:00PM on the eve of a three day weekend like Bess. Get before he is thrown out!!

Fed up parent!!

Anonymous said...

Did you know that the head of the Natl. Bright Futures in Joplin Kim Vann is moving the program and herself to Columbia Mo.?? I heard that it iss suppose to hapen this summer. They have a new office up there that they are going into. It is in conjunction with the Missouri School Boards group. I guess she is leaving before the whole empire collapses? Another one of CJ's people and programs gone. He knows, but I ask a Joplin school board member Mark and he said they had not heard this. Wouldn't you thinnk that the school board would know something like this. ? maybe they do and just want to talk about it. Another case of the empire collapse? Maybe this is why CJ is applying for other jobs? Get out while he can. Anyway, i found it concerning and thought you would to.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Title One funds used to support reading teachers have been misappropriated for some time. Protesting that got some people removed from their jobs so Huff could keep the gang of spies--the TLCs--who have not proved effective.

Yes, they are kicked out of the modot building. They irritated the wrong guy, and out they go. They are supposedly moving to the old Memorial school, and they have 125 grand tucked back for decorating their offices while they cut jobs elsewhere.

I expect Vann is trying to get out of town before it's discovered what happened to designated donations after the tornado. Trying to reveal that has cost other people their jobs.

No one writes on this blog and uses a name because these people have a lot to lose by being exposed, but they've screwed over so many people that there is no loyalty anymore. Too many people know too much to keep it quiet now. That's why they are leaving, and Angie was the first one to run out the door, leaving her stooges behind to take the fall. It's time this sorry mess came to a close so the Joplin patrons and parents can start fixing the damage. We will hope the new board has a plan in place by the end of June. The district can't go like this for another year.

Anonymous said...


Turner received the treatment he did in an attempt to discredit him completely. It went far beyond hurt feelings or embarrassment. Turner began to draw attention by his entries in the Huffington Post and with his books, and the fear was that people would start looking at Joplin as less than heroic and the money and fame would be cut off. They had to paint him as a crazy nut and a pedophile to boot. It didn't work though, as he has long since proved on this blog what the real issues are. They did the exact wrong thing, which is not surprising, and it has cost them big time.

The people running this district are nothing more than common crooks. And so far, they've gotten away with it. That's as pathetic as what they did.

Anonymous said...

There is no school board member named Mark, is there? Do you mean a Bright Futures board member? There is a BF board member who is attorney for the MO School Board. It seems like that would be a conflict of interest, to me. We need more facts about this story. This is huge, considering that untold millions of dollars got dumped in BF after the tornado, and it didn't all go where it was supposed to. People who donated for a specific purpose need to follow up and see if their money was used correctly. Use a lawyer, if necessary. They won't tell you otherwise. Or they can't.

Anonymous said...

Just returned from watching my child graduate and was amazed to see how many kids were there. It was even more amazing to watch CJ Huff talk to the kids about having character and doing the right thing. How does he sleep at night with that level of hypocrisy? What a fraud.

Anonymous said...


The school board is largely in the dark. They can't count on CJ to be honest about anything, so they have to get their information from other sources. This is what comes from not being involved and from believing in a con artist way too long. They need an audit and they need to send him down the road. He can be arrested anywhere if investigation warrants it. There's no point in keeping him here. No support from the public, his people are fleeing town, and we can't afford to pay his bloated salary anymore. End it this week, please, so the city can start fresh again.

Anonymous said...

And to think...people ask What is wrong with our Educational system in America? I am always thankful to people who pull the covers off these so-called leaders. I had the unfortunate experience in my school district which was pretty much the same as Randy Turner's experience. One unprofessional, superintendent came after me with all she had. I was fortunate enough to finish out my school year. Then I retired. This superintendent left our district in ruins. Then she was hired by Detroit School dist. That district did fire her. The problem for all of us is that these un-equipped superintendents leave on district to be picked up by another which is sad. Thank you for this report. This is one way taxpayers can be alerted to 'bad apples'. I do have a problem with School Board members that are just as ill-equipped. What about the children?

Anonymous said...

I just read a story about the Joplin tornado and the shelters in the schools. A national story. NBC. 5/19/14. Guess Huff hasn't actually fallen has he Turner?

Anonymous said...

It is fortunate that people like 6:21 are anonymous since that comment will make you look like a jackass when Turner turns out to be right. National media has no idea about what is going on in Joplin and for that matter neither does the Joplin Globe.

Anonymous said...

An observation from reading this blog for the past several months- no one supports CJ Huff, but there sure are some people who hate Randy Turner.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why some of us don't leave our names on here....could it be because we don't want them harassing our children.

Anonymous said...

LOL 5:21. Yeah, people love Huff. You conveniently overlooked the other comments, the April board election, the defection of various Huff administrators, lawsuits against Johnson, the high teacher turnover rate, the poor district scores. You keep plugging away there!