Joseph Baldwin Academy



Dean, Joseph Baldwin Academy

Michelle WilsonThe 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 and and works with the processing of student applications. 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

Nixi SchroederThe 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

Allie Wills

The Assistant 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), Residential Living Director (2021 and 2022) and now steps into the role of 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

Elizabeth McCarthyElizabeth “Lizzy” McCarthy  is the Health & Wellness Director.

Lizzy is a current student at Truman State University, working towards her B.A.’s in both Political Science and German and she is also a member of the Truman State University Showgirls dance team. Ms. McCarthy has a background working with students, as well as time spent as a camp counselor working with students with disabilities and past traumas.  Along with CPR, AED and first aid trainings, she also has been trained in the trauma informed care system of Ukeru.  This will be Lizzy’s 3rd year with JBA, working both summers 2021 and 2022 as a preceptor, and will now transition into the role as our new Health and Wellness Director.

As the Health & Wellness Director, who lives in the residence hall with the students, Ms. McCarthy 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.


Co-Activities Directors

Shannon FetznerShannon 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


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

John Theriac

John Theriac is the Residential Living 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, the Hospitality Director in 2022 and now as the Residential Living Director for 2023. 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 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

Hanna Vanourney

Hanna Vanourney is the Hospitality 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 3rd year with the academy after working as a preceptor during 2021 and 2022. 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. She enjoys working for the Truman Mailroom and is excited to apply those skills to her position as Hospitality Director.

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 plans to graduateRobert Greco Truman  State University with a BA in English this spring as he begins his M.A.Ed in Education with Truman.  Mr. Greco began with JBA this past summer as a preceptor with students thoroughly enjoying his energy and enthusiasm.  He enjoys sharing that he quickly became known as, “Big Homie” which he will continue to enjoy going by this coming summer.

Additionally, this past summer Mr. Greco shared that his experience as a preceptor was life changing.  He was able to form bonds with the students, give them good things to think about, and assist some through challenging times.  Overall, his 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”.  As his first year on Pro-staff, bringing more responsibility, he is ready for it from his experiences as a captain for the Truman State Football team the past three years and a captain for 3 years during his time at Hazelwood Central High’s football team. Mr. Greco is very excited for another summer of JBA!

As a newly created position for the Academy, 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, this individual will work to provide daily updates and information through our different platforms, along with providing an additional 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)