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

Government Leaders and Politicians

“I hope I would have had a little of C.J.’s toughness, commitment, and tenacity had I been faced with a similar situation. Places like Joplin we are going to watch very, very closely. They have a chance to create some model schools for the 21st century.” —U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Radio Address

“With unwavering courage and unshakable resolve, C.J. has led the Joplin Schools forward. He has been an inspiration to us all. I’m proud to have worked closely in partnership with C.J., and I’m even more proud to call him my friend. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in thanking one of Missouri’s –one of America’s–finest leaders and educators, Superintendent C.J. Huff.” —Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s remarks to the Class of 2012

“I have had the honor of working with Dr. Huff in legislative endeavors, including Senate Bill 291 which raises Missouri standards regarding high school drop-out criteria. I can attest to the high quality of his leadership and exemplary decision-making abilities. Joplin Schools, as well as the State of Missouri, is fortunate to have Dr. Huff within its ranks.” —Missouri Senate President Ron Richard

“[C.J. Huff is] a model for those who study resilience.” —U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen

Leaders in Education

“Our community is now a true partner with our schools, principals, teachers, and children. Dr. Huff’s vision and leadership opened our school doors like never before. Our community was eager to be a partner. We just needed a leader who communicates that need and provides a vehicle by which the community could be engaged.” –Mrs. Ashley Micklethwaite, former Joplin Schools Board President

“Dr. Huff possesses all the characteristics that a Board of Education would look for as they interview administrative candidates. His acumen in all instructional and curriculum issues is exceptional. He maintains outstanding relationships with all stakeholders in the organization and, in my opinion, would make the “top ten” list of effective school administrators.” –Mr. Leonard Zanatta, Assistant Superintendent, Bolivar School District

“It has been my observation that C.J. is innovative and dynamic in his profession. I have seen him consistently provide excellent leadership for various educational needs and issues. He fields complaints in a manner that is both professional and extremely courteous and he is calm and level headed in situations that demand that attribute. On a social level I know him to be a person of high moral character who has an ability to set everyone at ease. He has a highly developed sense of humor, is bright and inquisitive and goes out of his way to help without having to be asked–Dr. Huff is a true leader.” –Dr. Joan Cargnel, Former Director of Personnel, Springfield School District

“I have known C.J. Huff for approximately six years. As a principal he promotes a safe school climate through his proactive leadership style. He recognizes that a feeling of safety by students is one of the principle foundations needed for learning to occur.” –Dr. Roland Smith, Former Superintendent, Rogers Arkansas School District

“As an educational administrator and person of integrity and character, I would consider Dr. Huff as good as a school district can find. He reflects the maturity and disposition needed for this generation of school leaders who place student learning as a top priority for schools. I am also impressed by Dr. Huff’s persistence toward goal achievement, his desire to continue learning and researching in the field of educational leadership, his collaborative nature, and his display of high moral values.” –Dr. Brad Swofford, Junior High Principal, Branson School District

“I was extremely fortunate to have worked as an Assistant Principal with C.J. Huff. He was a terrific mentor, always allowing me to demonstrate my strengths and abilities, while modeling exemplary behaviors for me in areas that I needed to grow and improve on. We were truly a team.” –Mrs. Marilyn Monroe, Principal, Springfield School District

“C.J. Huff is an outstanding school leader who helps students, staff, and parents set high expectations for teaching and learning in all areas of life. He is an excellent communicator, extremely organized and gets the job done through a systematic method of collaborative planning and decision-making. He reflects constantly to assess the daily and yearly goals of his school. He understands the importance of education from all aspects and leads his school to be the best that it can be each day. He is an excellent educational leader.” –Mrs. Debby Lawson, Director of Elementary Education, Nixa School District

“Dr. Huff is not afraid to step up to difficult tasks and will tackle challenges with determination. At the same time, he does not lose focus of other responsibilities. He has high expectations of those who work for and with him, but his expectations are no greater than for himself. He has an ability to pull more out of individuals than they thought themselves capable.” –Mrs. Malinda Reagan, School Counselor

“Your action and words embody a humble spirit and contrite heart. These characteristics supply a gentle yet strong leadership, that truly inspires those around you to participate and push themselves even harder. C.J., you are a genuine person; possessing the heart of a warrior, an able and thoughtful mind, and a passionate servants soul. With an anticipatory heart; I look forward to the unity your continued leadership will offer this district, its educators and staff, our parents and our community.” —Mrs. Shannon Ellis, Teacher

“When it comes to leadership abilities, C.J. Huff is absolutely one-of-a-kind. By building caring and trusting relationships with his teachers, C.J. has created an amazing work environment for his staff. I think what makes C.J. completely priceless, is the fact that he would never ask anyone to do anything that he was not willing to do himself. C.J. makes a point to be involved in every classroom on a daily basis, which confirms for students and teachers that what they are doing IS important. By gathering opinions and ideas from his staff, C.J. is great at making everyone feel valued. Through many successes, C.J. has remained humble, giving glory to all those around him. Working for and with C.J. has been a delight and a true blessing to me.” –Mrs. Shannon Savvenas, Teacher

“Working with Dr. Huff as an administrator has been a very positive and rewarding experience. I am very impressed with his ability to address a difficult situation with diligence and professionalism. He recognizes the importance of involving parents in our school setting, and encourages their input in school-based decisions. In my opinion, he is the total package of what an excellent school leader should be.” –Mrs. Becky Forrester, Teacher

“I feel C.J. Huff is a good leader because he has introduced many good inventive ideas to help better our school for both children and teachers. He can quickly find solutions to our many every day problems. I find Dr. Huff easy to talk to and he will listen to my suggestions even if he doesn’t always agree.” –Mrs. Janet Hunt, Teacher

“Dr. Huff exhibits great leadership qualities by utilizing committees to fully research situations that arise at our building. He thoughtfully implements decisions that are in the best interest of our students. His availability and welcoming manner make Espy Elementary a family type atmosphere for staff, children, and parents.” –Mrs. Gari Foley, Teacher

“Your presence is appreciated…by the kids and by the teachers. We see you in the halls, in the lunchroom, outside at recess, and in our classrooms. You are real. You have high expectations for the kids and the teachers.” –Anonymous Teacher

“You have encouraged me to take leadership and responsibility to the next level and to ‘reach for the stars and beyond’ not just for my students…but for myself as well.” –Mrs. Robin Koerber, Former Teacher, Early Childhood Coordinator at SBU

“You are a wonderful principal. Your charisma makes a difference.” –Ms. Jennifer Jones, Student Teacher

“This is my 6th year of teaching and have worked for three different principals. I have been fortunate to have very good ones! However, you, Dr. Huff, I must say top them all! Thanks again for all your support, understanding, and trust in me! Knowing we have a principal like you makes us want to work even harder! And that is the truth . . . No joking about it! –Mrs. Gena Barnes, Teacher

“Dr. Huff is by far the best leader I have ever worked with. Under his leadership, our school developed and actively worked toward a common vision. Dr. Huff facilitated this process by encouraging collaboration between parents, staff, and community members to establish goals for our school. He implemented a professional development component to our regular staff meetings to foster teacher growth and emphasize our strengths. Dr. Huff consistently demonstrated excellent communication skills. He was always available to listen, provide support and encouragement, and solve problems. Dr. Huff was an outstanding principal, and I am confident his leadership skills will be an asset to any school system.” –Mrs. Stacye Manlove, Teacher

“Dr. Huff has the ability to lead those around him by empowering them with belief and enthusiasm. He communicates effectively with people and shows sincere concern for their welfare. He is positive and encouraging at all times which enables me to feel confident in my profession as a teacher at Espy. He only asks of us what he would do himself. He is a true leader at Espy and I am proud to work with him.” –Mrs. Tammy Beets, Teacher

Community Leaders

“Dr. Huff’s ingenuity and guidance have fostered a ‘we can do anything’ attitude in our community. Just as he supports our children and our workforce, I am proud to support this fine man in any endeavor.” –Mr. Rob O’Brian, Executive Director, Joplin Regional Chamber of Commerce

“I wanted to let you know how organized your strategic planning process was from the beginning. Your leadership with the process was very impressive. I have been involved with this process in two districts, and have helped five or six districts in the area. I have never seen the process so organized as yours – even including the two I led! I appreciate and value your leadership and friendship!” —Dr. Glenn Colthorp, MSSU Associate Dean of Education

“Not only was I moved by your words at the small business breakfast. But I am very proud we have a Superintendent that cares so deeply for the children in our community.” —Mr. Richard Huskey, Commerce Bank of Joplin

“His visionary and practical leadership has resulted in a phenomenal wave of volunteers and supporters of the Joplin schools. We, the faith-based community, feel welcomed at the table along with the total community and the results have been seen in sacrificial service and advocacy for student success!” –Steve Patterson, Director of Missions, Spring River Baptist Association

“I think the best quality a leader can have is to be servant-like and to lead by example. Dr. Huff has made himself into a true servant of the people. While he certainly takes the time to make major plans for the district, he also manages to make himself available to the people and students as well. I can not tell you how many times Dr. Huff met or spoke with me personally and truly got to know me. I look to Dr. Huff as a leader, mentor, and friend in my own life. I see what he has done in Joplin and realize that if I plan well and care enough, any project I undertake can be successful.” –Julia Lewis, Class of 2012 Graduate

“Your passion, vision, and dedication have been an inspiration to us all!! You have truly brought the eyes of the nation – and the world – to our doorstep. Thank you for giving us hope and lifting us up on the wings of an eagle.“ –Sarah Newman, Community Member

“Dedicated, meticulously organized, and detail oriented, Dr. Huff tackles each task with dauntless enthusiasm. He never expects more from others than he is willing to give or do himself…He leads by example and without compromise. His door is always open and as busy as he is on any given day, he will invariably find the time to talk or listen to anyone who enters his office. Always open to new ideas, but never losing sight of his vision of ‘a safe, caring school community, where children can learn and teachers can teach.'” –Mrs. Dana Stenerson, Parent

“Dr. Huff is the type of leader that every child deserves and would love to have. I have never seen Dr. Huff angry or negative. He is always pleasant and positive whether you see him in the hall, cafeteria, or at a PTA meeting. I see him as quiet thunder. He is very firm and strong, but can definitely get results from the students in a positive way.” –Mrs. Kim Herman, Parent