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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Joplin Superintendent to Step Down at end of June

Joplin Public Schools, C.J. Huff,
Joplin Public Schools

Superintendent of Joplin Schools Dr. C.J. Huff says he will retire from the district, effective June 30. The announcement came in a Thursday morning gathering with principals and administrators and in a letter to staff.

Huff said it was a difficult decision but based it 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."

Huff’s career in education spans 19 years. He has been superintendent of the roughly 7,700-student Joplin school district since 2008.

According to a news release, more than $325 million in construction projects and facility improvements have been initiated during his tenure. That includes reconstruction for several schools following the May 2011 tornado.

He’s also credited with helping improve the district’s graduation rate, which in 2008 was 73.3 percent. It now stands at 87.5 percent.

“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."

Last December, Huff was one of five finalists for the state’s education commissioner, which eventually went to Dr. Margaret Vandeven.

According to the Joplin school district, its Board will discuss the process for selecting a new superintendent at its next meeting, currently scheduled for June 23.