Tuesday, April 28, 2015

C. J. Huff- a coward who bullies women?

The increasingly bizarre behavior of Superintendent C. J. Huff was on display tonight at the Board of Education meeting as Huff went on an extended rant against board member Debbie Fort, questioning her ability during her time as Irving Elementary principal and claiming her school had the lowest test scores in the district.

Earlier in the meeting, Huff accused Fort of lying to the public during board meetings.

The attacks on Fort followed his attacks on successful board candidate Jennifer Martucci prior to the election when he released the contents of a private e-mail sent to him by Martucci during redistricting of the R-8 middle schools.

Huff tried to brand Martucci as an elitist who only cares about kids if they live on the right side of the tracks.

The attack backfired on Huff as Martucci collected more votes than her two opponents, Nancy Good and Melinda Campbell, combined.

Though there was a brief verbal attack on Fort early in the meeting, Huff's latest temper tantrum occurred after Fort had noted the district's declining test scores.

"Here's our charge," Fort said. "Every student learns in every subject every day no matter what and we're not doing that. We've steadily gone downhill in the last five or six years."

Huff lashed out. "I've got to intercede at that point. You were principal in that building (Irving Elementary) for a lot of years and the last 10 years of your career, you were the poorest performing principal in our district."

While Fort sat stoically and did not respond, the newly-elected Martucci said, "That is inappropriate."

Huff condescendingly responded, "Jennifer, I need to talk."

"That's inappropriate," Martucci again said.

"It's a fact," Huff snapped.

"You need to be respectful. Please be respectful."

Huff did not heed her advice. "I've watched the district be tore (sic) down for the last two years through comments she has made that are not true. Absolutely not true."

As he usually does when he is the one who is being criticized, Huff tried to make Fort's comments sound as if they were attacks on teachers and principals. "I want to defend our hard working teachers and staff who have done the right thing. I've got the best team of principals I have ever had since I've been here and it's all about teamwork."

Huff proceeded to continue his attack against Fort, accusing her of "doing the same thing" when she was a principal and being a troublemaker.

"It's a fact," Huff said, apparently believing that if he said it was a fact that people might think it was so.

Martucci asked the question that most of those at the meeting or watching it on TV or online wanted to ask. "What are you talking about?"

"What I'm talking about," Huff said, again adopting a patronizing tone toward a women questioner, "is the same type of things we're seeing here. It's behind the scenes work."

"For example?" Martucci asked.

"Like right now, text messaging. You've been reading text messages all night. From whom? This is a public meeting, it's a public record." Huff did not seem to see the irony in taking the same stance that he had taken in his ill-advised Facebook attack on Martucci when he claimed her two-year-old personal e-mail to him, which included information about her children, was public record.

"I think the news media in this room has a right to ask who's running the meeting here."

Though he never said the words, Huff appeared to be implying that these little women couldn't be causing him problems. They had to be taking their orders from some man via text messages.

Fort did not respond, but Martucci, attending her first meeting, noted that she had exchanged text messages with her children about what they were going to have for dinner.

Huff didn't back down. "That's an open record."

When he finished the prolonged verbal assault, Fort responded, speaking calmly in direct contrast to her accuser.She said that what Huff had said about her test scores "wasn't true. I can show you the scores."

Turning to Huff, she asked, "If I was such a horrible principal, why did you allow me to run summer school? Every summer I had to set up a school of 3,000 students."

Huff did not respond.

Fort began citing statistics of the changes that have occurred since the days when the Joplin R-8 School District was accredited with distinction four years in a row. Scores have fallen since that time.

Huff blamed the tornado, noted that he and his team had other things to worry about other than standardized test scores. "Our leadership has been focused where it needed to be focused."

At that point, Ryan Jackson, who was seated in the audience, asked, "How is it appropriate for a superintendent to criticize a board member?"

Huff responded, "This is a conversation that needed to be held."

Martucci replied, "It didn't need to be held." The back-and-forth had occurred during a discussion on who would be board president. Martucci reminded Huff, "This is a board vote, not a superintendent vote."

The third female board member, Lynda Banwart, might have become board president, if she had simply stepped in and told Huff something similar to what Martucci said, but she failed to stand up as Huff badgered her female colleague.

For anyone who may think this is recent behavior, Huff's problems with Fort started when she first decided to run for the Board of Education.

In the May 17, 2014, Turner Report, I wrote the following:

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.

One year has passed and the treatment that C. J. Huff has displayed during that time to both Fort and Martucci and his efforts to manipulate two straight elections, including some face-to-face confrontations in public settings (not board meetings) with the two women, would seem to indicate that Huff is uncomfortable with strong, assertive women.

During the past year, former board member Jim Kimbrough asked several pointed questions of Huff and his administrative team during board meetings. Not once did Kimbrough go through the type of bullying tactics that Huff has tried on Fort and Martucci.

It must be easier to attack women when it's "for the kids."


Anonymous said...

When does the browbeating stop? Once this board is "settled" in, they need to take a hard look at Mr. Huff and make an even harder decision, to keep or not to keep. That will be the question. When do we stand up for our children in there bright and shiny new school and say "it's not enough!" I want my children to get out of this school the great education we are all paying for in one manner or another. I'm just one person and I see the failings of this leadership in more than one of the new schools. my humble opinion is Fish or cut bait.... And say goodbye and good riddance to Mr. Huff.

Anonymous said...

When does the browbeating stop? Once this board is "settled" in, they need to take a hard look at Mr. Huff and make an even harder decision, to keep or not to keep. That will be the question. When do we stand up for our children in there bright and shiny new school and say "it's not enough!" I want my children to get out of this school the great education we are all paying for in one manner or another. I'm just one person and I see the failings of this leadership in more than one of the new schools. my humble opinion is Fish or cut bait.... And say goodbye and good riddance to Mr. Huff.

Anonymous said...

If there was still a question in anybody's mind, tonight C.J. publicly showed himself to be a complete ass.

I'm sorry that Dr. Fort had to listen to him publicly berate her again but it certainly opened the door for Ms. Martucci to remind C.J., in a not so subtle way, that he works for them and not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

CJ obviously has never read the state sunshine law, messages on a private phone are not public record.they would be only if the district is directly paying for the phone would the text messages be public record. Besides when did he suddenly become concerned with the law or transparency, oh that's right when he thinks it benefits him!

Anonymous said...


1. BOE votes to not allow the use of personal electronic devices during the meeting (common courtesy) .

2. A superintendent is to be dismissed from the meeting when disrespecting anyone in the room.

Anonymous said...

Fire him today......take his keys......he has no recourse......the only regret is the idiot board is on the hook for three years salary

Anonymous said...

Huff's just repeating things someone has told him that he assumes to be true; he's not smart enough to think of those things himself, which is why he can't actually construct an argument. it's been one of the Huff side's talking points in their attempt to smear Fort, just as they attempt to smear anyone who isn't 100% kissing their ass. Huff needs to get over the fact that not everyone is going to agree with him 100% and learn to work with people instead of being a petulant child throwing tantrums in public.

Anonymous said...

As I watched the board meeting I noticed the body language of the man setting next to Huff. I feel that he to should be called on his actions. If we are talking about bullying and rudeness.

Anonymous said...

@4:04. Great suggestions

I also think if other board members sit idly by, watching such an exchange as last night, that these individuals are just as culpable. An audience member had to call order back to the meeting - Mike Landis SHOULD have done that !!!

As for you Lynda Banwart, going along with things like this DOESNT make you a mediator - it makes you an accessory to poor behavior.

Anonymous said...

Over the years, the BOE has worked for Huff. That is about to change and I think he is beginning to realize it, that's why the panic.

FallenGrace said...

Is anyone going to talk about Mike Landis? That man, and I use the term lightly, needs to learn decorum! He is so disrespectful and abrasive - just like his dad CJ Huff.
I can't stand watching him, listening to his squeaky whining all while tapping that damn pen so loudly I think I'm going to snap. Some people disgust me.

Anonymous said...

Voter need to send another clear message. HUFF NEEDS TO BE FIRED. He is a disgusting womanizer who in the real world would be gone.

Anonymous said...

A few year ago a Joplin police officer handcuffed a child at school who had an altercation with his son. The police officer was fired - because he could not separate PROFESSIONAL from PERSONAL feelings.

CJ Huff has the same problem - he CANNOT separate professional and personal feelings. When Dr Fort mentioned declining test scores - CJ Huff took this as PERSONAL and went on a personal tirade against Dr Fort. CJ Huff could have PROFESSIONALLY and RESPECTFULLY disagreed with Dr Fort on declining test scores and discussed among themselves.

The bottom line if every time a board member brings up a point that CJ Huff thinks makes him look bad - is he going to GO OFF on that board member and make personal attacks. CJ Huff in too thin skinned and does not have the proper temperament to be superintendent of the Joplin school district.

Anonymous said...

As a former Joplin educator I was appalled to witness the behavior exhibited by CJ Huff during the BoE meeting. I tried briefly to imagine Dr. Simpson behaving in such a manner...nope. No other superintendent I've ever worked for would have shown such disrespect to another professional, particularly a BoE member.

Whatever shred of respect I may have ever had for the man is now gone. This should not be tolerated in any way, shape, or form by the Joplin Schools Board of Education. This man is an embarrassment not only to Joplin Schools but to the community and state. Kudos to Dr. Fort who continues to exhibit such grace under fire.

I hope this audio clip is made available to the community at large.


Something must be done about this entitled tyrant.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever wondered why the teachers and principals are seldom in their schools/classrooms? I know I have! How can any scores be blamed on these educators/administrators when they are not present and actively working? The reason they are not able to do the job they are hired for is because they are in meetings (often as many as 3 out of 5 days a week!) These meetings didn't begin until Mr. Huff arrived. In the beginning it seems as though they were helpful in bringing everyone together, united & working towards the same goals. And there was improvement. And if I hear that the "day to day running of the schools is done by the administration and the BOE is hands off" I may scream. Board members NEED to SEE what is going on and they NEED to CHANGE it! Keep asking the questions but get into EVERY DEPARTMENT and see for yourselves.

Anonymous said...

I would cancel the Bright Futures initiative. If a teacher had a plan and executed and expanded it for years while test scores went down they would be put on a plan and eventually let go. Call his baby ugly it will help show him the door. It's cheaper than firing him since the BOE already extended his contract. Suspension for inappropriate behavior may also be warranted. Check his contract.

Ryan Jackson said...

Please note that I called for a "point of order" and direct my remarks to Interim Chair Mr. Landis and was pointing out that CJ was speaking out of turn regarding the board topic for discussion. I know Robert's Rules of Order, and Parliamentary Procedure and was following protocol.

Anonymous said...

Schooldigger.com is a web site that ranks schools and districts for all states,according to each states scores. These rankings go back for 9 years. Joplin was ranked 168th out of 506 districts in 2005-2006. We were successfully climbing Mt.Joplin. 2008-2009 we had a ranking of 155. Then the decline begins,2009-2010 we fell to 229! In 2010-2011,pre tornado, we were down to 322! Our loss of academic performance cannot be blamed on the tornado. Results for last year have Joplin at 399 out of 529 districts in the state!
Teachers work very hard. It is difficult to teach when the curriculum changes so frequently. It seems that the leadership is reaching for a quick fix . Adopt something and stick with it! Give teachers resources and the time to teach! Back the teachers with support when behavior problems occur. Many things need to change,starting at the top!

Anonymous said...

The frog is in hot water.

Turn up the heat.

Anonymous said...

As someone who does not live in Joplin, or even Missouri, I have a vested interest and I am appalled at how unprofessional and inappropriate CJ Huff, the Superintendent, an employee of Joplin School District was to essentially his employer. To launch a personal attack on someone's integrity and credibility in a public meeting is the lowest form of cowardice. Desperate people do desperate things and if last night's meeting is any indication of how he runs a school district, the people of Joplin need to question their loyalty to this man. If this is how he runs a board meeting, what is he doing every day in Joplin's schools?

Anonymous said...

>>>If this is how he runs a board meeting, what is he doing every day in Joplin's schools?<<<

This in fact is one of the problems which has led to the current situation.

The president of the school board is the one that should be running the board meetings.

Huff should not have control of either the meeting agenda or the meeting. His apparent control of the board and the meetings in the past seems to be weakening.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your response. Having watched these meetings before, I have observed that Mr. Huff appears to run the board meetings. I have contributed this to weak board members who do not know what they should be doing. I can't believe that this man(?) is still employed. He acts as though the board members work for him. If this Jerk ever verbally attacked my wife publicly as he did
Dr. Fort, I guarantee I would hand him his ass in a paper bag. The IDIOT is a total DISGRACE to the people of Joplin and especially R-VIII. Fire him and ruin his reputation and see how many speaking engagements he gets. He really is a POMPOUS ASS.

Anonymous said...

There is only ONE way to rectify this situation! School Board members MUST be inundated with phone calls, emails, letters, etc. demanding that Dr. Huff be removed as superintendent. HE is the point of contention in the district!

Anonymous said...

3 curricullums in 6 years....

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does it seem like CJ Huff's unstable behaviors remind you of someone addicted to ibogaine?

Anonymous said...

Huff should be fired, what is wrong with board members. The community wants him gone and a fhouse cleaning. He shouldn't talk about weak principals because everyone he has hired fits that description. The worst one for test scores is now someone over elem. Ed. So people are laughing at his attack comments. He is tearing this community apart! GO Huff GO

Anonymous said...

Yay yay worldstar. Huff be leakin!

Anonymous said...

I think it would be well worth the money to send this chauvinist pig down the road! He was awful before now he is just stupid. Petition to see him go anyone?

Anonymous said...

Since when was Obama hired to be the Superintendent of the Joplin school district.

Anonymous said...

Despicable behavior. I am ashamed of our superintendent. Kudos to you Debbie Fort for not reacting. This behavior was over the top for any superintendent. I am sure everyone present was in shock and disbelief at the Huff outburst. Thank you Ryan Jackson and Martucci for your comments. This man lost all respect last night...Even the 100,000 $ in wrong color seats seems minor to this display of temper and childish remarks meant to slander.

Anonymous said...

This outburst is inexcusable. Showing a total lack of control and good judgement. Kudos to you Debbie Fort for not reacting. And although all were caught off guard by this outburst, thanks to Ryan Jackson and Martucci for your comments. It is time to send him down the road regardless of what it costs us in money. It is costing our children of the community way more.

Anonymous said...

It is time to send him down the road regardless of what it costs us in money.

Even if his contract has to be bought out, cleaning house in the bloated administration he's created will very quickly make up the difference and beyond.

Anonymous said...

Huff's remarks went beyond unprofessional. They were illegal, as he was openly discussing the status of an employee, which Fort was at the time he was referencing. He doesn't just hate women. He comes off as deranged and delusional. I fear he is dangerous, like a trapped animal. His mental state is horrendous. That Banwart, who claims to be adept at "working with people" sat on her pious behind and did nothing is just incomprehensible. There's a great start to her legacy as a "leader." Maybe her hubby told her not to upset his friend CJ. That seems to be the case.

Anonymous said...

Never in my life have I ever witnessed such a display of heinous behavior during a school board meeting.

All of you people who voted for Randy Steele last election, how does it feel to know that you as a public carry no weight?

All of you people who voted for Lynda Banwart and her carefully crafted speech of educational buzz words, how does it feel to know she'd sooner blame Deb Fort for provoking Dr Huffs verbal abuse then say STOP ?

All of you people who kept electing Mike Landis, no matter how rude he is or how easily he goes along with Dr Huffs every whim, how does it feel to have watched Joplin schools sink into disgrace?

Jeff Koch - thank you for stepping up. Thank you for keeping everyone on point.
Jennifer- thank you for the desire to keep decorum in the meeting.
Deb - keep your chin up. We've got your back.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

DO NOT, repeat, DO NOT fire him because he will just sit at home for the next three years laughing and counting the money he gets for doing nothing. Make him the highest paid night custodian in the state of Missouri for the next three years. That would probably be the only real job he's ever had in his life.

Anonymous said...

Now it makes sense why he was so quick to defend the same behavior shown by his mini me, Mike (Dumb as toast) Johnson.

Anonymous said...

The BoE should have enough evidence to terminate Huff's contract without any penalty to the District. Lying and deceiving the BoE, which he admitted to. Falsifying official BoE Policy; he or agents under his direction, rewrote a BoE that included involvement in BoE campaigns after the Sharp video debacle. The rewrite legitimized Huff's current and previous campaign involvement and the use of District personnel and facilities for Sharp's campaign video. The prudent thing for Huff to do is to quietly resign citing health and family issues.

Anonymous said...

Does Lynda Banwart realize that her statement to Dr. Fort relative to Dr. Fort being the person responsible for CJ's rants at her, a CLASSIC belief of a battered woman? "If I hadn't said that, or if I hadn't don that...he wouldn't have hit me." Good Grief, woman, get a clue!!!

Anonymous said...

Could someone tell me approximately where in the meeting this takes place? I'd like to watch it, but it's over 4 hours long and I don't have time to sit and watch the entire thing.

Anonymous said...

The last 30 mins

Anonymous said...

I was told at a MSBA training session that the superintendent is at the board meeting at the invitation of the school board and doesn't even have to be there. Like Martucci said, it is a board meeting not a superintendent's meeting. They should have a board meeting without him and see how he responds.

Anonymous said...

I'm still not finding where this took place? This was the board meeting on April 28? It was in the last 30 minutes? Is this correct?

Anonymous said...


It's shortly after 3 hours 55 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Huff and women.
It might just be coincidence, but every secondary principal is male. Some of us remember when all principals were male and the little women did all the teaching of the elementary young'nes. Maybe he is not a chauvinist, but rather just nostalgic.