“After all, a lot of you could’ve spent your senior year scattered throughout different schools, far from home. But Dr. Huff asked everyone to pitch in so that school started on time, right here in Joplin. He understood the power of this community and the power of place.”

—President Barack Obama

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Speaking and Consultation

With expertise in the areas of leadership, community engagement, education programming, strategic planning or designing 21st century learning environments, Dr. C.J. Huff can work with you and your team to develop and implement strategies to accomplish your organizational goals.

Nothing can substitute experience. Dr. C.J. Huff has 19 years of experience in the field of education as a teacher, principal, and superintendent in rural, suburban, and urban school districts. He has taught graduate level education leadership and research classes for Lindenwood University and was appointed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to serve as a member of the advisory board for Western Governor’s University – Missouri. Huff has extensive knowledge and experience in education programming and policy development at the local, state, and federal level.

As an educator who worked closely with the business community, Huff possesses a deep understanding of 21st-century skills necessary to support workforce and economic development. In recognition of those successful efforts, the United States Department of Education recognized Joplin Schools as one of only nine “Future Ready” schools in the nation during his career as superintendent. He worked collaboratively with the school community to develop a shared progressive vision for teaching and learning. On-going and systematic training and support, encouragement and celebration of innovative practices, infrastructure development, strategic budgeting, and accountability resulted in one of the most innovative public education systems in the country.

The research is clear that the quality of the learning environment has an impact on student outcomes. Dr. C.J. Huff has significant experience in PreK-12 school design, site development, and construction while keeping learning at the center. He is responsible for over $400 million in new school construction and renovation projects over 11 years. His recent responsibilities included $220 million in new construction with a focus on 21st century design effectively integrating technology, creative use of space, and learner friendly work environments. Additionally, Huff’s experience includes safe and secure campus design (including tornado safe room construction and integrated technology systems).

If you are in a leadership position, crisis will happen. Huff has relevant experience related to day-to-day leadership challenges as well as long-term disaster response and recovery efforts. In the aftermath of the most costly tornado in United States history, he established a clear vision for the district’s recovery effort within 36 hours of the crisis—fully attaining that vision 84 days later. He led and participated in numerous community efforts in the areas of mental health and psychological support systems, community recovery planning, long-term community engagement strategies, and communication.

The quality of relationships and how a community interacts are essential to communities seeking to overcome challenges facing our communities youth. Parents, human service agencies, the faith-based community, businesses, and government agencies all play an important role in any community engagement effort. Huff developed a framework for community engagement that has been replicated in over 50 communities in 7 states. Referred to as The Bright Futures Framework, the model enhances communication between community agencies, creates partnerships allowing quick access to resources, effectively utilizes social media to engage community members at the grassroots level, builds community leadership capacity, and provides service learning activities for youth. It has been nationally recognized as a “best practice” by the White House, Corporation for National and Community Service, U.S. Department of Education, and the National School Boards Association.

Huff has a background in advocacy and developing long-term relationships with politicians and government leaders at the local, state and federal level. He meets regularly with elected officials and government agency representatives to build and maintain relationships. Huff regularly travels to Washington DC to advocate on behalf of school district, community and regional initiatives. Huff's on-going federal relationships include the U.S. Department of Education, F.E.M.A., Commission for National and Community Service, the White House, and numerous other federal agencies and organizations.

Huff has finely-tuned communication skills with enhanced abilities in public speaking and facilitation of group meetings. He regularly speaks on the state, national and international level on topics of 21st-century learning, leadership, community engagement, and crisis preparedness, response, and recovery. He has experience in facilitating focus groups, workshops, and planning formats. Huff successfully managed local, state, national, and international media during full-scale crisis response. He completed a three-year term with the National School Public Relations Association Board of Directors as the national superintendent representative. Huff participated in multiple panels and has conducted webinars and workshops related to crisis communication.

Having been an educator himself, Huff understands the relationships between teachers, students and parents. He recognizes the need for passion and enthusiasm in the education of our nation's children. Through his speeches and workshops, Huff motivates and inspires educators to stay positive, supportive and progressive throughout their career. By boosting teacher morale, students are able to have the support they need for a better education, better family life and better future.

Professional Recognition

United States Department of Education
2015 Future Ready School District
(1 of 9 in the nation)

District Administrator Magazine
2015 District of Distinction

American Association of School Administrators
2013 National Superintendent of the Year Finalist

Missouri Parent/Teacher Association
2013 Distinguished Service Award

Missouri Association of School Administrators
2013 Missouri Superintendent of the Year

National School Public Relations Association
2012 Bob Grossman Leadership Award

Missouri National Education Association
2012 Horace Mann Award

eSchool News
2012 Tech Savvy Superintendent of the Year

Missouri School Public Relations Association
2012 Administrator of the Year)

People Magazine
2011 “Heroes Among Us” Award

Pittsburg State University
2009 Outstanding Alumni Award

Civic and Professional Leadership

Dr. C.J. Huff is constantly involved in community organizations and leadership roles. He currently holds four leadership positions in the Joplin community.

Vice-President at Large
National School Public Relations Association
(2012-2015)

Board of Directors
Mercy Health Systems
(Current)

Board of Directors
Connect 2 Culture
(Current)

Advisory Board
Western Governor’s University — Missouri
(Current)

Board of Directors
Bright Futures USA
(2011-2015)

Member and Paul Harris Fellow
Joplin Noon Rotary
(Current)

I hope I would have had a little of C.J.’s toughness, commitment, and tenacity had I been faced with a similar situation.

[C.J. Huff is] a model for those who study resilience.

With unwavering courage and unshakable resolve, C.J. has led the Joplin Schools forward. He has been an inspiration to us all.