Mission-Driven Liberal Arts Education Since 1993
Thomas Jefferson was founded in 1993 by a group of Joplin parents who were determined to give their children an exceptional educational experience that would prepare them for success in college and in life.
TJ’s founding families, which included Debra and David Humphreys, Dr. Mike McDonald, Dr. Margaret Janssen, and Nancy and Bob Walkenhorst, determined the best way to help children reach their full potential was through a classical liberal arts education with a Western civilization focus, delivered in a highly supportive, mission-driven environment.
In late fall 1992, the founders set out to create Thomas Jefferson, forging a Mission Statement and Honor Code to guide TJ, and building the original school.
The founders chose the school’s name with care and intentionality, and developed the curriculum based on time-tested programs at some of the nation’s most successful independent schools.
In August 1993, TJ opened its doors to 185 students in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 9.
Situated on 26 acres, TJ has grown from 45,000 square feet to more than 90,000. The addition in 2011 of the Humphreys Arts and Student Life Complex doubled the size of the school facilities, enabling TJ to further develop its extremely strong arts programs, and to expand enrollment to meet growing demand for the school’s exceptional academic program. The addition includes a world-class concert hall, Upper School library, commons area, courtyard, foreign languages lab, several classrooms, small group rooms, a second art studio, and music rooms.
In 2014, the school community dedicated the J.P. Humphreys Track and Field Complex, honoring a man who worked to improve education in the region and who donated the land for the school. TJ rededicated the Dr. Pat Doody Memorial Tennis Complex in 2016.
Today, TJ has approximately 345 students enrolled in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12. Since its inception, TJ has distinguished itself academically, artistically, and athletically at the state and national level.
TJ graduates regularly receive impressive enrollment and merit scholarship offers at a wide variety of colleges and universities, including some of the most prestigious schools in the country.