Assistant superintendent for Cape leaving to run Meadow Heights district

Thursday, March 2, 2006

He's No. 2 in command of the Cape Girardeau public schools, but come July 1, Rob Huff will be the head man in the small, rural Meadow Heights School District.

His new job will take him outside of the school district he has called home for two decades.

Cape Girardeau public schools have about 4,000 students. Meadow Heights, near Patton, Mo., has about 600 students on a single campus.

"Now I supervise 10 principals. There, I will supervise two," he said.

But Huff, 45, isn't concerned about going to a smaller school system. "I'm from Potosi," he said. "I am used to a rural school district."

Huff -- a former math and physics teacher, school principal and school business manager -- said he's ready to direct a school district.

"I am more comfortable having the buck stop here," he said Wednesday.

His departure from the Cape Girardeau School District opens the door for administrative restructuring.

Superintendent Dr. David Scala said he plans to announce the restructuring of some of the administrative positions, probably as soon as next week. He hopes to restructure the central office and complete any hirings by the first part of April.

At Meadow Heights, Huff will be reunited with Dan Tallent, who is president of the school board and formerly superintendent of the Cape Girardeau School District.

As superintendent, Tallent hired Huff as principal of the former Louis J. Schultz seventh-grade school in 1998. Huff served as principal of the school until 2000, when he was promoted to the job of business manager and assistant superintendent for the district.

Huff taught junior high math from 1985 to 1997. He also taught high school physics before leaving the district to serve as principal at Caruthersville High School for a year.

In his teaching days at the Cape Girardeau school system, he also coached various sports and served as the district's first high school soccer coach in 1985.

As a teacher, Huff said his favorite job was working with other teachers as part of the summer paint crew.

"You could see immediate results," he said.

Parochial possibility

Although he has spent his career in public education, Huff said his son and daughter may go to parochial elementary school in Cape Girardeau next year. He said that's because his wife, Rose, works for a local Catholic parish.

Huff said he has nothing against the Cape Girardeau public schools and that enrolling his children in parochial school might be done as a matter of family convenience.

In recent years, he's crunched the numbers for the Cape Girardeau School District budget and kept track of revenue and expenses.

Huff said it was harder teaching math to junior high school students than building district budgets.

"Budgets tend to be cut and dried, and junior high students are anything but cut and dried," he said.

He no longer administers the district's finances. This school year, as assistant superintendent, he has supervised building principals and addressed parent concerns.

"I feel I am back having a more direct impact on kids," he said.

335-6611, extension 123

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