Joseph Baldwin Academy
Dean, Joseph Baldwin Academy
The Dean of the Joseph Baldwin Academy is Michelle Wilson. The Dean sets the curriculum, budgeting, selects the faculty, oversees the Directors, Preceptors and ultimately any student needs. In addition, the Dean works with the processing of student applications and the selection process. 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 Language Arts at Lee’s Summit West High School. This is Nixi’s 10th year with JBA and her 2nd 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.
The Assistant Director is Allie Wills. Allie is an English teacher for Pattonville High School in St. Louis. This will be Allie’s seventh summer as a part of the JBA community; she has been a Preceptor (2018 & 2019), Hospitality Director (2020), Residential Living Director (2021 and 2022) and this is her second year as Assistant Director. She holds a B.A. in English and a M.A.Ed. in Secondary Education from Truman State University.
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
The Health and Wellness Director is Megan Ford. This will be her 4th summer with the Academy and first as the Health and Wellness Director. Megan is pursuing her B.S. in Social Issue Advocacy from Truman State University and plans to attend law school in the fall to obtain her J.D. with a focus in educational policy. She is excited to work with all of the students this summer!
As the Health & Wellness Director, who lives in the residence hall with the students, the Health and Wellness Director oversees the health and safety needs of the students, dispensing any necessary medications, providing basic first aid and ensuring that students maintain a healthy lifestyle while at the Academy. The Health & Wellness Director reports to the Director.
Holly Peters is one of the two Activities Directors for JBA. This will be her 6th year with the academy, and is excited to return to for her third 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. She is currently pursuing a Master in Clarinet Performance at Illinois State University.
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.
Zoe Aldrich is the second of the two Activities Directors for JBA. This is her 3rd summer working for the academy which she also attended as a student. This will be her first summer serving as co-activities director. She is currently pursuing her B.F.A. in Creative Writing at Truman and plans to further pursue writing upon graduation. Zoe is very excited to take on this new role at the academy and further cultivate the wonderful environment that meant so much to her as a student!
Residential Living Director
Hanna Vanourney is the Residential Living Director for JBA. She is pursuing her B.A. in French at Truman State University and plans to enter Truman’s Master of Art in Education program. This will be her fourth year with the academy and first as the Residential Living Director. Ms. Vanourney is preparing to teach high school French in a rural district and has served as a teaching assistant in Truman’s agriculture department as well as the second vice president in her professional agricultural sorority, Sigma Alpha.
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.
Noah Schleicher is the Hospitality Director for JBA. This will be his fourth year with the academy, serving as a preceptor for multiple math, science, and business classes. He is a recent graduate from Truman State University, with his Bachelor’s in Mathematics and Master’s in Education. Noah is currently in his second year of teaching math at Green City High School and plans to either teach there for another year or move to Kansas City.
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
Robert Greco is the Communications and Social Media Director for JBA. Robert graduated Truman State University with a BA in English and has begun his Masters of Arts in Education with Truman. Mr. Greco will be in his third year with JBA and second on ProStaff. He quickly became fondly known as, “Big Homie” by the students and continues to enjoy this nickname.
Robert’s goal is to “help the kids make memories that will last them a lifetime, help them develop their brains and challenge themselves, and also, (this is the most important one), to keep your child safe.”
The Communications and Social Media Director is tasked with the Academies social media presence, photography, videography as well as content creation for the memory book and website. In addition, the Communications and Social Media Director works to provide updates and information through our different platforms, along with providing an additional staff member to the management team for overall academy supervision.
Summer 2023 ProStaff Group Photo
Back Row: Shannon Fetzner, Hanna Vanourney, John Theriac and Nixi Schroeder
Front Row: Holly Peters, Lizzy McCarthy, Robert Greco and Allie Wills
Preceptors — one to 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 university background check
- 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, as well as have a motor vehicle background check to ensure they have no moving violations, to be allowed to assist in transportation of students within campus vehicles
- meet with their faculty member for course expectations and guidelines to help support the faculty member
- three days of preparations and trainings by the professional staff and campus departments
- work under their Faculty member for all academic responsibilities
- work under the Directors 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)