The Future of Children in Poverty: 2 Lessons Learned from Dr. Ruby Payne

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on June 30, 2017

In the last couple of years, I have had the great privilege of visiting with Dr. Ruby Payne on a number of occasions. I can think of no one who has had more influence on the national conversation around childhood poverty in America over the last two decades than Dr. Payne. Every time I hear her speak or am able to sit down and talk with her in person, I come away with a new nugget of wisdom.

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Topics: Breaking the Poverty Cycle

Community Engagement 2.0

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on April 12, 2017

Published in AASA's School Administrator Magazine, this article presents a three-part scaffold for local schools to capture the public's trust and build on it for student benefit. 

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Topics: Community Engagement, Meaningful Leadership

Leadership: The Yin and Yang of Head and Heart

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on April 4, 2017

On May 22, 2011, around 6:20 p.m. I was walking down Connecticut Avenue in Joplin, Missouri. The debris on the street was heavy as I headed towards my office nearly 7 blocks away. I needed to grab my laptop before I headed to the emergency command center.

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Topics: Joplin's EF-5 Tornado, Meaningful Leadership

Safe and Sound Schools: An Interview with Michele Gay

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on March 14, 2017

Michele Gay is a former teacher and a parent. She lost her youngest daughter in the shooting attack on Sandy Hook School in December of 2012. Determined to build a positive legacy for her daughter and help others learn to better prevent, prepare, and recover from tragedy, Michele founded Safe and Sound Schools with Alissa Parker, another Sandy Hook parent and the mother of Emilie Parker.

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Topics: Community Development, Education Policy, School Safety

An Empty Stomach has No Ears

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on March 2, 2017

Recently, I spent some time in North Central Missouri in the community of Edina. A rural community in Knox County that bears a striking resemblance to the area I grew up in Southeast Kansas.

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Topics: Community Development, Breaking the Poverty Cycle

Life is a Highway...Just Drive

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on February 24, 2017


As kids grow up, there are few things more unnerving for a parent than when they start learning to drive. Being in the passenger seat while they first try to parallel park is scary. It's even scarier to imagine (or experience) not being in that seat as they pull out of the driveway and leave by themselves.
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Topics: Community Development, Mentorship

Building Resilient Communities

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on January 23, 2017

Severe weather events, global conflict, and economic hardships seem to have become commonplace in this world we live in.

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Topics: Community Development, Community Resilience

Creating Rapid Response Systems to Meet Student Needs

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on January 4, 2017

Less than one hour north of where I am writing this blog sets the community of Lamar, Missouri. For you history buffs out there, our 33rd President of the United States was born in Lamar…Harry S. Truman.

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Topics: Community Development, Community Resilience

Meet the Working Poor: Learning not to Judge

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on December 3, 2016

From a US Bureau of Labor Statistics perspective, the working poor are defined as “…people who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force (that is, working or looking for work) but whose incomes still fell below the official poverty level.”

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Topics: Breaking the Poverty Cycle, Meaningful Leadership

Joplin's EF-5 Tornado: 3 Lessons Learned about Leadership in Crisis

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on November 30, 2016

Crisis happens. Sometimes major crisis occurs with a sudden shift in the economy. It can occur with the sudden loss of a key individual without a succession plan in place. Major changes in policy, laws or regulation can also cause organizational upheaval. And certainly, we have all seen what happens when it comes in the form of a natural or manmade disaster.

The truth is that when a major crisis strikes, the person sitting in the leadership chair at the onset of crisis can never be fully prepared. Why? Simply put...every crisis is unique.

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Topics: Joplin's EF-5 Tornado, Meaningful Leadership