"Parents and schools need to work together. Parents need to be involved in their child's school life," Justus said.
Justus is originally from Salem, Ark. He graduated from Salem High School in 1982. He continued his education earning an associate's degree from Williams Baptist in 1987. He went on to get his degree in elementary education from ASU in 1990 and in August of 1994 received his master's in administration also from ASU. Justus completed his formal education in 2006 with a specialized degree in administration from South East Missouri State.
He is the son of the late Johnie and Emma Justus. His mother lives at Mammoth Spring.
Justus and his wife Lisa, a Couch High School graduate, have been married 13 years. They are the parents of 4-year old Madeline.
Justus is not new to the Thayer area. He said as a youngster he attended the Thayer Free Will Baptist Church and worked for K-Kountry 95 off and on for about 15 years. "I did a lot of weekend work. After my Dad died it allowed me to continue my education," the principal said.
Justus began his teaching career in 1991 at Hughes, Ark. near Forest City. He said he taught the sixth grade there for two years.
" I really enjoyed my job at Hughes but it wasn't home. I wanted to come back to the hills," Justus said. That is exactly what he did.
He moved to Doniphan and for the next 11 years worked in the Doniphan School District teaching sixth grade, social studies and English as well as serving as assistant principal for six years.
In the fall of 2004 Justus was hired as elementary principal at St. Genevieve Elementary School in St. Genevieve, Mo.
"During my years of education I have worked in three great school districts. It just wasn't home." he said.
The new principal said he has always been interested in education, even when he was a student at Salem. "I liked college and always wanted to teach elementary school," he said. He said sixth graders are at a special age. "They are old enough to know what is expected of them but still young enough to learn," he said.
Justus said this year in grades K-3 a new reading program will start in the school district, Reading First. He said it is a federal program but the funds for the program are administered through the state.
Justus said the program will be a whole new reading series where teachers and even himself will be more involved in the reading program in the classrooms. "Through this program there will be 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading instruction every day," he said
"Kids are my number one reason for being in education. If they are successful in the classroom, we as educators are successful," he said.
Justus said he will operate his office as principal on an open door policy. "We will have the community's children from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. We need the help of the parents in the home to help us make them a success."