Thursday, May 28, 2015
C. J. Huff: It's time for me to be a dad and husband again
During a gathering with principals and administrators this morning and in a letter to staff, Dr. C.J. Huff announced his plans to retire from Joplin Schools effective June 30, 2015.
"This has been a difficult decision for me to make," Dr. Huff said. "But, it's time for me to step aside based on two primary factors. First, I love my family dearly and have missed them greatly. They miss me too. It’s time to be a dad and husband again. Second, I’ve had many opportunities in recent months to visit with my principals, as well as with many, many teachers and support staff. It is crystal clear, Joplin Schools is on the right track. I've seen amazing work going on in classrooms and buildings across our district, and I will leave knowing that our kids and our community's future are in good hands. I am proud and honored to have worked with this team for the last seven years."
Dr. Huff began his career with Joplin Schools in 2008. During his tenure, the district has experienced more than $325 million in construction projects and facility improvements. These include the completion of three new middle schools and the reconstruction of several schools, including two elementary schools, a middle school, a high school and a technical school, after half of the school district was damaged or destroyed in the May 2011 tornado. In addition, renovations have been completed at nearly every school in the district and thirteen community safe rooms have been constructed across the district with a final safe room scheduled for completion in October 2015.
Upon his arrival to Joplin Schools, Dr. Huff was tasked with improving a dismal graduation rate. In 2008, the graduation rate at Joplin Schools was 73.3%. That rate has improved to 87.5%. Dr. Huff has also led the district through a devastating natural disaster - the costliest tornado in the nation's history, as well as the worst economic disaster since the great depression and the controversial and most significant national education reform movement in decades. Dr. Huff has served 19 years in the education field as a teacher, principal and superintendent.
“We have seen a great deal of change over the last eight years, and that has taken strong and dedicated leadership," said Board of Education President Jeff Koch. "Operating at a sustained peak for such a long period of time can make the work/life balance unequal. We will continue to draw on Dr. Huff’s expertise over the coming months and know that with a steady foundation, there can be a smooth transition. We appreciate Dr. Huff’s guidance through many challenges and accomplishments and wish him the very best in the future."
The Board will discuss the process for selecting a new superintendent at its next meeting. The next board meeting is scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, June 23. If an additional board meeting is scheduled prior to that meeting, that information will be shared with local media and on the district's website at www.joplinschools.org.