During Mental Health Awareness Month, we're highlighting the work of a new efactory member.
As a former teacher, principal and superintendent, School Responder’s Founder CJ Huff has seen it all. The dramatic increase in mental health concerns during his 20-year career in education drove his desire to design a solution that could proactively address issues that are so prevalent in today’s schools.
“Poverty, social media, violence, bullying, cyberbullying, homelessness, anxiety and depression,” Huff said. “We have a lot of kids struggling. We built School Responder as a tool to meet students where they are so they can get the support they need when they need it most.”
School Responder is different from a panic button that deploys emergency response teams. Instead, with School Responder, students can report issues. In many cases, these infractions, microaggressions, bullying scenarios and indignities might have previously gone unreported to school administrators, counselors or support staff.
Then, these situations could have escalated to a bigger crisis.
“Ultimately we see School Responder as a tool to save lives and improve academic and life outcomes for our children and youth,” Huff said.
Who is CJ Huff?
Huff, a recent addition to our efactory membership, was the Superintendent of Schools in Joplin, Missouri, at the time of the catastrophic 2011 Joplin tornado. That experience of working alongside the community as it rebuilt and healed from the trauma gave him unique insight and empathy for people and families in crisis, too.
He now draws upon that experience in supporting school recovery efforts – like in Wynne, Arkansas, which experienced a devastating tornado in March 2023.
“I have a passion for kids and doing whatever I can to support our children and youth during their time of need, whether it is addressing barriers to learning, helping them feel safe, or responding to natural and man-made disasters,” he said.
Huff stays incredibly busy with these passion projects, as well as nonprofit work with SafeandSoundSchools.Org and BrightFuturesUSA.org.
What he most wants to gain out of his membership at efactory is the opportunity to network with and learn from everyone about how to “navigate that path of introducing new technology to the marketplace and scaling our business.”
We think he’s in the right place.