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Community and Friends

Located in Joplin, Missouri, Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School serves an important role in the entire Four-States community.

Support TJ's Program

A Community Resource

Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School provides a classical liberal arts education to hundreds of students in grades Pre-K through 12. While TJ is located in Joplin, Missouri, approximately half of our diverse student body is made up of students from dozens of other communities in the wider Four-states region. As the only non-sectarian, college preparatory independent school in the area, TJ makes the Joplin region especially attractive for families who are relocating to the area with children who currently attend independent schools.

Each year, TJ showcases our students’ musical and theater talents in performances and productions at our Concert Hall. Our students also take their immeasurable talents out into the community, performing at places such as nursing homes, festivals, and civic organizations.

During the year, TJ brings world-class entertainment to the Joplin region. Recent performances include the World-Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, Fountain City Brass, and Tonic Sol-fa.

The Steven McCollum Distinguished Speaker Series brings world-renowned leaders in academics, public policy, and government to the stage at TJ. We also provide academic enrichment opportunities for children in the community, such as Duke TIP Academic Adventures, Kids College, Young Scholars, After-School Enrichment, and the TJ Music Academy.

The community also cheers on our gifted student-athletes, who compete in a variety of sports in the Ozark 7 Conference and at other schools around the region.

Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School serves a vital role in the community. Offering a world-class educational opportunity helps area employers attract and retain highly qualified employees from around the world and adds immeasurably to the economic and cultural vitality and diversity of the Joplin area.

Our liberal arts college prep program is second to none when it comes to preparing the children in our community for success at college and beyond.

If you are interested in supporting our Mission, please consider making a gift to TJ so that we can continue to be a community resource for years to come.

Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School offers dozens of enrichment opportunities for TJ students and other children in the community. TJ’s Music Academy offers lessons from talented faculty in voice and several types of instruments. Kids College offers two-hour, one-day enrichment opportunities on Saturdays on the TJ campus for curious 5- and 6-year-olds. Curious 3- and 4-year-olds and their caregivers may participate in the Young Scholars program on the TJ campus. Academically gifted students are eligible to participate in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) 4th-6th Grade Talent Search. TJ also offers a full range of camps and classes for students in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12 during the Summer Discovery Academy. These engaging half- and full-day summer programs are open to all students in the Four-States region.

Visit the Enrichment Opportunities page for more information.

Thomas Jefferson is a vibrant school community where parents, grandparents, and friends of the school volunteer on a variety of levels to significantly enhance the experience for all students.

Learn More

To help your child continue to grow academically over the summer months, TJ offers the Summer Discovery Academy. The Academy offers engaging and exciting courses and trips for Lower School through Upper School students. Both half- and full-day programs are offered.

Learn More

Music academy students

The TJ Music Academy is an after-school program that offers private music instruction to the youth and adults of Joplin and the surrounding area. We offer lessons in strings, voice, woodwinds, and guitar that take place in our lovely facilities with our experienced faculty. Lessons rates are $40 per hour, $30 for a 45-minute, and $20 for a 30-minute lesson. Lessons are scheduled after school with the private instructor based on his or her availability. We offer many performance opportunities including recitals and music festivals, and we encourage a strong work ethic and a passion for music.

Registration is now open for the Fall Session of music lessons through the Academy. Once signed up, you and the instructor will work out the scheduling for those lessons as the time approaches.

Click here to register

Academy Staff

Rebecca Cutler

Rebecca Cutler, violin/viola, holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from Pittsburg State University and a Master of Degree in Violin Performance and Orchestral Conducting from Illinois State University. Her primary teachers have been Ben Sayevich, Sarah Gentry, Selim Giray, (violin), Glenn Block, and Craig Fuchs (conducting). Miss Cutler has been a private violin and viola instructor for more than 10 years and taught previously at Missouri Southern State University where she directed the Suzuki Violin Academy and taught applied strings and string techniques. She has happily been at Thomas Jefferson IDS since 2012 teaching LS/MS/US Strings. Miss Cutler also performs with the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas in Fayetteville as well as other regional orchestras.


Levi Randolph

Levi Randolph directs the saxophone studio and saxophone chamber ensembles at Missouri Southern State University, and teaches courses in music appreciation and world music. Levi earned his Master’s Degree in saxophone performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, where he studied with renowned saxophonist Tim Timmons. He is an in-demand woodwind freelance artist for numerous jazz and classical venues, weddings, concerts, operas, musicals, and chamber music events. After graduating from UMKC (he earned a B.A. in saxophone performance at MSSU before attending UKMC), he moved to Joplin and began a private studio, co-founded the quintet Jomo Jazz in 2013, and in 2014 established the MSSU Jazz Camp. Levi’s teaching style emphasizes creativity, critical thinking, and the development of one’s own individual style and sound. Students who study with Levi learn about their craft through discovery and are given the education and tools to become the innovative performers and teachers of tomorrow.


Chelsea Pfeifer

Chelsea Pfeifer is a graduate of Missouri Southern State University, Principal Violist in the Southern Symphony Orchestra, and manager of Golden Spectra string trio. A Texas native with 18 years of performance experience, she has been teaching in the Joplin area for 2 years now and aspires to see string students in the area increasingly active is private lessons. She has high hopes for all of her students to grow in an understanding and appreciation for music, regardless of their experience thus far.


Jana Zinter

“Making Music Fun” is Miss Jana’s motto. Jana studied piano for 13 years with Joplin’s best and continued her education with a Julliard graduate during her years at MSSC. Jana loves working with children and has devoted over 35 years to teaching piano. She keeps students motivated with recitals, festivals, competitions and music contests. Many of her students have earned “Honorable, “1” and “Winner” ratings at local, state and national levels. Jana is an active member of JPTA, MMTA, MTNA, MFMC and NFMC. Jana would love to share her piano knowledge with your child so they too can learn to love music in their own special way.


Click here to register

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