A former Carthage student is now a Carthage principal.

A former Carthage student is now a Carthage principal.
This year, Matt Huntley is adjusting from being a vice principal at Carthage High School to being the principal. His Rocky poster, something that has traveled with him through his education career, now hangs on his new office wall next to some pieces of the original CHS gym floor. Smiling, he noted the former principal Kandy Frazier put those there and he intends to keep them – along with her ideals.
“What she imparted to me can't be avoided or undone and I don't think it should be,” Huntley said. “She created a culture of respect, collaboration and communication. I won't be seeking to change that.”
Huntley has served as a vice principal for the past seven years, gaining knowledge from Frazier, who now serves the district as the assistant superintendent for instruction. Admitting he's never been a fan change, Huntley said he's adjusting well to his new role in the high school.
“It's as fast-paced as the assistant principal's position but there is a big difference,” he said, “but I have good people around me. The kids are great. I couldn't ask for a better situation in terms of change.”
Speaking of change, Huntley has had a front row seat in observing the Carthage R-9 School District grow. He is a 1991 CHS graduate.
“I've always been here,” he said. “I see that as something to overcome because it limits your view. I've only known what Carthage has done but I know there are other places that do things differently, things that might work here, and I feel that's important to know.”
Huntley achieved his elementary education degree from Missouri Southern State University. He returned home and began teaching at Hawthorn, and was part of the move to Steadley Elementary. He was preparing for his fourth year when he received a call about an ESL position. For the following eight years, he taught ESL for kindergarten through ninth grade at Fairview Elementary and the Carthage Junior High School.
During those 11 years, he coached soccer, a program dear to his heart because he was on CHS's first soccer team under the leadership of Bob Holman. Today, two of the CHS soccer coaches are his former players.
“I'm super proud of those guys for coming back to take care of my baby,” he said. “It's always been a part of me and I still very much enjoy it.”
Huntley obtained his masters degree through William Woods in 2006 – with no intent of changing his career.
“When the assistant principal's position was offered I really struggled with that,” Huntley said. “It was a really tough decision, but ultimately I knew what it was and I wanted to see what something else looked like.”
Now, Huntley finds himself at the helm of managing about 1,300 students and 200 adults. Coincidentally, among the CHS student population this year is his daughter.
Huntley is married to Sarah, who teaches art at St. Ann's, and they have three children: Maquelle, sophomore; Marcus, seventh grader; and Mia, kindergarten at Fairview.
Is there any friction in being a parent principal?
“She's always been right behind me in school,” Huntley said of Maquelle, “every time she would reach my school, I would move on to something else. So she's actually excited to be in school with me. People ask me if it bothers me that my kids don't play soccer, and it really doesn't. I'm happy they're doing things they love.”
In closing, Huntley expressed what he hopes for the future.
“I want our community to continue to be proud of the Carthage School District and I feel like they are,” he said. “We have a lot of things happening here that really have nothing to do with me; there are opportunities here at the high school. We just have tell our kids they have to participate in their education. I want parents to feel welcome here. I'm always up for conversation. Conflict is nature of the job but conflict can be resolved for the best interest of the students.”