Huff, who appears to be the only candidate who revealed publicly that he wants to be commissioner, and the other finalists were selected from a field of 14.
The person chosen by the State Board of Education will replace Chris Nicastro, who is retiring at the end of this month.
Huff, who has been looking for a way out of Joplin for the past several months, announced his candidacy with the following letter to faculty and staff:
On April 1, 2008 I received a late night phone call from Anne Sharp. At that time, like today, she was the President of Joplin Schools’ Board of Education. I had interviewed with the Board for the position of Superintendent of Schools earlier that day. She was calling to offer me the position. I was excited for two reasons. For one, Joplin represented an opportunity for my family to get closer to our parents and grandparents. But most importantly, it was an opportunity to positively influence the lives of more kids. Joplin has become our home.
As I’m sure you are already aware, there has been much talk in the last few years as to my intentions. I hear the rumors from time to time that I have applied for various jobs in other cities, sometimes even in other states. Regardless of the rumors, I have not done so. Joplin is my home…and like my children I love my friends, the people I work with, and the schools we have worked so hard to rebuild together. If I was seeking employment elsewhere, I would treat you with the same respect as I would my family…you’d be the first to know.
To that point, I am sure you have heard Dr. Chris Nicastro, Missouri Commissioner of Education, is retiring at the end of December. The State Board of Education has begun the search process, which includes the opportunity for individuals to be nominated for consideration for the position. If nominated, the Department of Education makes a phone call to the nominee with a request to submit an application for the position. I received such a call on Monday morning.
I’ve spent a lot of time talking to my wife about this nomination and whether or not to apply for this position. We’ve talked about the impact on our family and our commitment to this community. And I’ve prayed daily for guidance on this decision.
Today, I wanted to let you know that I will be submitting my application for the position. The opportunity to serve over 800,000 Missouri children and the educators who guide them is one I cannot let go by without exploring the possibility.
With that said, there will be many other highly qualified candidates who will be applying for the position. If I’m not selected for the position, my intention is to remain the Superintendent of Joplin Schools in the years to come. This is my home and I love the people I work with and the children and community we serve.