The school board elections in April were a sign that things were changing in Joplin MO.

This week, two school board members resigned. Spurred perhaps by a public petition calling for his resignation,  Superintendent CJ Huff also resigned. The Turner Report broke the news yesterday.

“Reportedly, the Board of Education has reached an agreement with Huff to buy out the remainder of his contract, which was scheduled to run through 2018.”
Two other members of the board, Randy Steele and Mike Landis, who were the only other members remaining from the 2011 board which so poorly handled the tornado recovery, also tendered their resignations this week.


Turner reviewed the shake up of board members.


“Phil Willcoxon and Jim Kimbrough opted not to seek re-election, while Ashley Micklethwaite, who was board president at the time of the tornado, resigned when her job took her out of town. The voters soundly rejected re-election efforts by two consecutive board presidents, Jeff Flowers and Anne Sharp. In the interim, Micklethwaite’s replacement, Dawn Sticklen, also resigned after she enrolled her daughter in the Webb City R-7 School District.”


Mike Landis’s resignation letter is a sign of the misunderstanding of so many on local school boards. He complained that, “Political agendas have taken the place of what the focus of the board should be, which is setting policy for the school district.”  Politics and policy are inextricably intertwined. It is pointless folly to wish otherwise. Problems inevitably arise when local government spends most of its time enacting policy pushed on it from above. The farther away from local control you get, the more politics, and the more outside interests get added to those politics, which skews local policy away from what the people want. What happened in Joplin is exactly the type of corrective action the founders envisioned for this country. And as Joplin has demonstrated that action is best accomplished at the very local level.


These resignations, combined with the April election results, have left the Joplin R-8 school board with three open positions. The first opening was created by former Joplin Police Chief Lane Roberts who won election even though he could not serve.  The Joplin R-8 Board of Education will meet at 5 p.m. Friday 5-29-15 at the Memorial building to appoint his replacement. Board members will review applications, appoint a member and swear that member in and then accept the resignations of board members Randy Steele and Mike Landis, according to the agenda.

Turner said, “Now, thankfully, both C. J. Huff and Mike Landis will be in our rear view mirror, a reminder of days when substance was sacrificed for show and teachers were wrapped in an six-and-a-half mile ribbon and sold down the river.”

We wish you well Joplin.

Anne Gassel

Anne has been writing on MEW since 2012 and has been a citizen lobbyist on Common Core since 2013. Some day she would like to see a national Hippocratic oath for educators “I will remember that there is an art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding are sometimes more important than policy or what the data say. My first priority is to do no harm to the children entrusted to my temporary care.”

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