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Dean, Joseph Baldwin Academy

Assistant Director of the Institute for Academic Outreach, Coordinator of Summer Academies and Institutes

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. 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.



Director, Joseph Baldwin Academy

The Director for the Academy is Connor Maguire. The Director oversees the day to day operations of the Academy.  Mr. Maguire has been teaching ELA and AP courses in the Saint Louis Public School district for 5 years. He has been working at JBA for 6 years, as a Preceptor in 2015, Hospitality Director in 2017, Assistant Director in 2018 and 2019, and Director from 2020-Present. He has a B.A. in Sociology and English from Truman State University and a M.A.E. in Secondary Education and M.A. in English also from Truman.  Connor is currently working towards his Doctoral Degree in Education at UMSL with a focus on social justice in schools.

As the Director, who lives in the residence hall with the students, Mr. Maguire supervises all co-curricular JBA activities and creates an atmosphere that is safe, healthy, and fun.  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

Nixi Schroeder is the Assistant Director for the Academy.  Nixi graduated from Truman State University in 2020.  Since then, Shas been teaching English at Pattonville High School in Maryland Heights and now at Hermann High School in Hermann, Missouri.  This coming fall she will be moving to Lee’s Summit West High School.  This is Nixi’s 8th year with JBA and her first year as the Assistant Director.

The Assistant Director, who lives in the residence hall with the students, works closely with the Director and supervises the Academy whenever he is not available.  The Assistant Director’s primary responsibilities include student discipline and planning several of the Academy’s weekend activities, including an out-of-town trip to a nearby water park.  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 fifth year with the academy, first as a preceptor for two years and now in her third 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 and ensuring that students maintain a healthly 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.  She is currently a student in Truman’s Master of Arts in Education program, graduating in May upon her completion of student teaching at a high school in northern Illinois.  Ms. Fetzner earned her B.A. in History from Truman in 2021. This will be her third year working for JBA, having    worked as a Preceptor in 2019 and 2020. She is excited to return to the Academy and is looking forward to a new summer of students in position as an 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 will begin her first year of teaching band education this fall in Missouri. She is in her 4th year with the academy, joining as a preceptor from 2019-2021, and is excited to take on her first summer as an Activities Director. Ms. Peters holds a B.A. in Music Pre-certification from Truman State University and will graduate in May 2022 with her M.A.E in K12 Music Education, also from Truman.






Residential Living Director

The Residential Living Director is Allie Wills. Allie is a middle and high school English teacher who is currently finishing her Master of Arts in Education degree and is currently working with the Rockwood School District as a permanent substitute teacher.

This will be Allie’s fifth summer as a part of the JBA community; she has been a Preceptor (2018 & 2019), Hospitality Director (2020), and Residential Living Director (2021 & 2022). She holds a B.A. in English from Truman State University and will graduate with her M.A.E. in Secondary Education in May 2022.

The Residential Living Director, who lives in the residence hall with the students, is responsible for housing assignments, managing the hall desk 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 is John’s second year with JBA, working as a preceptor during the 2021 year. 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.



Preceptors — two or three per class — are 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.

Most 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 standards.  Along with a nomination, students must also have a letter of recommendation from another campus professor.  Before the beginning of the JBA session, preceptors are then trained by the professional staff, receive certification in CPR / AED and First Aid, pass a van-driving test administered by Truman’s Department of Public Safety to be allowed to assist in transportation; as well as complete a full university background check. Finally, Preceptors meet with their faculty member prior to the first day of classes and are under their faculty member for all academic responsibilities and to 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.

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)