On May 22, 2011, the town of Joplin, Mo., lost six schools in an EF5 tornado that killed 160 people and displaced half the student body. Joplin currently has about 3,200 students living in temporary facilities. In spite of these challenges, the district is leading the way in using technology to transform instruction under the guidance of Superintendent C.J. Huff.

Before the tornado struck, Joplin already had made a significant investment in ed tech, said Huff, a 2012 winner of the Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards from eSchool Media. Now, in rebuilding Joplin’s educational...

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