Thomas, Joyce
Director of Education, 4th-8th Grade


I just moved to Waconia, MN, after living in Chaska for 14 years. I’ve been married to my husband, Ward, for 20 years. We have a 19-year-old son, Owen, who attends UMD, and a 16-year-old daughter, Lilly, a junior at Chaska high school. I love hanging out with my family and friends at our cabin on Farm Island Lake in Northern MN.

What do you like most about BA?
I love the small class sizes. Students and staff can develop trusting relationships in this small setting, allowing teaching and learning to happen at a must faster rate. I also enjoy that character education is embedded into all aspects of the curriculum, including athletics. Finally, I love that the students share a common passion, hockey. It is beneficial that we can incorporate that into our lessons and discussions.

Why did you get into education?
I think I’ve always wanted to be a teacher because my mom was a teacher. I have always worked in jobs in the “caretaking” field.

Which coach or teacher had the biggest impact on your life and why?
My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Wendt, because she made me feel special and important.

What is the best advice you can give students at BA?
Trust the process, learn how to deal with failure, and ask for help when you need it.

What are your credentials and teaching experience?
1996 University Wisconsin-Eau Claire BS Special Education Learning Disabilities (K-12)
2002 Saint Mary’s University-Minneapolis MS General Education
2003 Reading and Math Basic Skills Certification

Teaching Experience:
Minnetonka High School 1996-2005
Holy Family Catholic High School 2008-2015
Breakaway Academy 2014-Present