Dean, Joseph Baldwin Academy

The Dean of the Academy is Michelle Wilson. The Dean sets the curriculum, selects the faculty, and oversees the staff. Prior to working at the University Mrs. Wilson has worked with students and families in suburban, urban and rural areas of Kansas City, Missouri.  Additionally, she spent the majority of her summers working with and directing summer youth camping programs and academies. Mrs. Wilson has a B.S. in Human Services from the University of Phoenix and a Master of Arts in Education and Integrated Learning from Drury University.  Mrs. Wilson has been with Truman State University as the Dean of JBA and Assistant Director of the Institute for Academic Outreach working with Truman’s Early College Programs since 2021.



Director, Joseph Baldwin Academy

The Director for the Academy is Nixi Schroeder. As the Director, she oversees all aspects of the day to day operations of the Academy.  Ms. Schroeder graduated from Truman State University in 2020 and teaches English Lanaguage Arts at Lee’s Summit West High School. This is Nixi’s 9th year with JBA and her 1st year as the Director.

As the Director, who lives in the residence hall with the students, Ms. Schroeder supervises all co-curricular JBA activities and creates an atmosphere that is safe, healthy, and fun.  In addition, the Director oversees the activities of the professional staff and Preceptors.  One of their primary responsibilities is communicating with parents on the phone or through e-mail during the Academy. The Director reports directly to the Dean of the Academy.



Assistant Director

The Assistant Director, who lives in the residence hall with the students, works closely with the Director and supervises the Academy whenever they are not available.  The Assistant Director’s primary responsibilities includes student behavior, check-in and check-out days and planning several of the Academy’s weekend activities.  The Assistant Director reports to the Director.


Health and Wellness Director

Sam Mitchell is the Health & Wellness Director for the academy. She has a B.A. in Business Administration from Truman State University and is currently seeking her Master’s in Mental Health and School Counseling from Truman. This is her sixth year with the academy, serving first as a preceptor for two years and now is in her fourth year as the Health and Wellness Director. Some of her experience outside of the academy includes substitute teaching and a variety of interest areas related to health, resources, and education.  As the Health & Wellness Director, who lives in the residence hall with the students, Ms. Mitchell oversees the health and safety needs of the students, dispensing any necessary medications, providing first aid and ensuring that students maintain a healthy lifestyle while at the Academy.  The Health & Wellness Director reports to the Director of the Academy.


Co-Activities Directors


Shannon Fetzner is one of the two Activities Directors for JBA.  Ms. Fetzner is a graduate of Truman’s Master of Arts in Education program as well as having previously earned her B.A. in History from Truman.  Ms. Fetzner teaches 8th grade social studies for Wright City Middle School in Wright City, Missouri, as well as coaches cross country.  This will be her fourth year working for JBA, having spent two years as a Preceptor in 2019 and 2020, returning last year to join the professional staff as a Co-Activities Director.



The Co-Activities Directors, who live in the residence hall with the students, are responsible for planning and supervising the morning, afternoon, and evening activities.  Much of their work includes organizing materials and travel for each activity and training preceptors to work individually with students in a variety of athletic, intellectual, creative, and recreational activities.  The Co-Activities Directors report to the Director.


Holly Peters is the second of two Activities Directors for JBA. Ms. Peters is a choir director,  teaching at Hermann Middle School and Hermann High School. This will be her 5th year with the academy, joining as a preceptor from 2019-2021, and is excited to return to for her second summer as a Co-Activities Director. Ms. Peters holds a B.A. in Music Pre-certification and M.A.Ed in K12 Music Education, from Truman State University.






Residential Living Director

The Residential Living Director is Allie Wills. Allie is an English teacher for Pattonville High School in St. Louis.  This will be Allie’s sixth summer as a part of the JBA community; she has been a Preceptor (2018 & 2019), Hospitality Director (2020), and Residential Living Director (2021, 2022 and 2023). She holds a B.A. in English and a M.A.Ed. in Secondary Education from Truman State University.

The Residential Living Director lives in the residence hall with the students, is responsible for housing assignments, managing the hall desk, hall store and student banking accounts.  The Director also oversees telephone service, room repairs, student mail and a myriad of other student living tasks.  The Residential Living Director reports to the Director.



Hospitality Director

John Theriac is the Hospitality Director for JBA.   John has his B.S. in Ceramic Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology, and is currently working to become a full time teacher attending Truman’s Master of Arts in Education program.   This will be John’s third year with JBA, working as a preceptor during the 2021 year and as the Hospitality Director in 2022. Outside of JBA John has been substitute teaching and tutoring students in math and science. He is excited for another year working with JBA.

The Hospitality Director is in charge of all things to maintain the day to day tasks of living on campus.  Overseeing tasks such as mail delivery, ensuring students are taking care of their laundry, hall and dorm room cleaning, Sodexo communications, coordinating set up and tear downs for student activities/events, and working with the Health & Wellness Director and Residential Living Director.


Communications and Social Media Director

As a newly created position for the Academy, this position will be tasked with the Academies social media, photography, videography and content for the memory book and website.  Additionally, this individual will work to provide daily updates and information through our different platforms, along with providing another staff member to the management team for overall academy supervision.



Preceptors — two or three per class — are current or recently graduated Truman students who assist the faculty in the class room and work with students in their class.  The preceptors live in the residence hall and assist the Co-Activities Directors’ during the morning, afternoon, and evening activities.

The majority of our preceptors are nominated by a JBA faculty member to assist in their course and are interviewed individually by the Dean and the Director of the Academy.  They must meet certain academic standards, have a heart for middle school age students and adhere to certain expectations and standards as set by Truman State University and the Institute for Academic Outreach.  Along with a nomination to the position of Preceptor, students must also have a letter of recommendation from another campus professor to attest to their work ethic and ability to represent Truman in this role.  Additionally, a large number of our preceptors are also working towards their Masters degree in Education.

Before the beginning of the JBA session, preceptors:

  • complete a full university background check
  • attend a spring orientation session
  • receive certification in CPR / AED and First Aid training
  • pass a van-driving test administered by Truman’s Department of Public Safety to be allowed to assist in transportation
  • meet with their faculty member prior to the first day of classes for course expectations
  • three days of preparations and trainings by the professional staff and campus departments
  • work under their Faculty member for all academic responsibilities
  • under the Director for all other duties and expectations


The faculty are responsible for their classes.  They schedule each day’s academic activities, monitor each student’s progress, assign study hall, supervise the academic duties of preceptors and are responsible for class behavior.  The faculty report directly to the Dean of the Academy.  Faculty bios are on the course pages JBA Courses.

Recent Academy Graduate Feedback: 

  • “Our professor, Dr. Vazzana, was one of the most entertaining and positive teachers that I have ever had.” (Victor, age 15)
  • “She helped me develop my graphic novel creation skills and showed me how to do better.” (Kendall, age 13)
  • “My professor was energetic and helpful whenever we were feeling stuck or tired.” (Andrew, age 13)