Dr. C.J. Huff

Recent Posts

Podcast with Gina Kane: A Second Chance After the Joplin Tornado

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on November 20, 2017

I was recently a featured guest on Gina Kane's podcast, "A Second Chance." She and I talked about a second chance I had a number of years ago and what it was like to be a community leader in the aftermath of the devastating Joplin tornado that took place in May of 2011.

Gina had some interesting questions for me. We discussed the factors that motivated me to care so deeply about everyone else, when I could have stayed close to my kids and family. We talked about how this experience has changed me and about the things I am passionate about today.

If you'd like to hear the interview for yourself, just click below. Enjoy!


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Topics: Community Resilience, Joplin's EF-5 Tornado

The Connection Between Building Resilient Communities and Finding Inner-Peace

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on August 31, 2017

I was recently a guest on Chris Shea's podcast, "On Finding Peace". Our conversation covered topics that many in my circles are very passionate about, and I want to make sure that you have the opportunity to listen in and hear another valuable perspective.

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Topics: Community Development, Community Engagement, Community Resilience

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