Amanda Ripley

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Resilience in Joplin

22nd Oct 2012 posted in Resilience

This weekend, I got to meet C.J. Huff at the PopTech conference in Maine. In my world, C.J. is a legend. He was the superintendent of schools in Joplin, MO, before, during and after the tornado struck last year. He knows more about the intersection of disasters and education than just about anyone else. His talk (which you can now watch—see below) describes how his town built community before disaster struck, and how much that has mattered since.

Before the tornado, Huff helped cut the high school drop-out rate by 50%. (Let me just say that again…50%!) He built relationships with local businesses, churches and senior citizens who knew how to knit. All those things became critical assets in the course of about a half hour on May 22, 2011, when a mighty wind took 161 lives and flattened a third of the city, including six of Huff’s schools. Check it out: