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Joyce S. VanTassell-Baska  Inducted 1992 - Class of 1962

Reading through Joyce's resume reminds one of the movie, "Little Man Tate." The film chronicles the life of a gifted child and the struggle between his loving unschooled mother and his highly educated instructor. Joyce said the film depicted many of the stereotypes of gifted children. People often believe that teachers of gifted children push them too hard to achieve. Joyce disagrees. These children push themselves to be the best.

Joyce also pushed herself as a student. She grew up in a blue collar neighborhood near Whittier Elementary School and attended Woodward from 1958 to 1962. She was involved in almost every activity at Woodward- -Girl’s Chorus, Fasces, Dramatics Club, Peris, National Honor Society, Student Council, TATTLER, Leaders' Club, Extravaganza as well as many class committees.

As an educator herself, Joyce rated the following Woodward instructors as her favorites:


*Belle Joseph: who taught advanced math and knew what college prep students needed

*Marianne Mitchell: who taught sophomore English and knew what Joyce needed to perform...personal encouragement.

*Sam Szor and "Jocko" Gordon: used humor, personality, and bullying to drive home a point and were able to relate to students as individuals.

After school hours, Joyce enjoyed hanging out with her friends, Margaret Fuhr, Barbara Lytle, Mary Sefferty, and Sue Payment. They frequented the White Hut. School dances were also a favorite activity.

She especially enjoyed the Junior Classical League. The SAGA shows the JCL "slaves" clad in togas toting a roasted pig. Other fond memories include Butch Komives' lay up against Scott and graduation in the Peristyle.

After graduating, Joyce attended the University of Toledo and earned her Bachelor of Education degree. In fact, she earned three more degrees at UT: a Master in Education, a Master in Art, and her doctoral degree in education. Joyce has taken additional course work at Bowling Green State University, University of Michigan, Kent State University, Seton Hall, Chicago State University, and Purdue University.

Her teaching experience began at Toledo Bowsher as a high school teacher of English and Latin. She also coached girls' basketball, track, and tennis. From 1973 to 1976, Joyce was the coordinator of Programs for Gifted and Talented Students for the Toledo Public Schools. She also served as director for the school district in Matteson, Illinois. For the State of Illinois Department of Specialized Educational Services, Joyce held the positions of Director of the Illinois Gifted Program and Manager of Grants and Contract Units. From 1982 to 1987, Joyce worked as a Research Scholar and Director of the Northwestern University’s School of Education Center for Talent Development. She was also its Associate Dean for Outreach Services.

From 1987, Joyce has been the Eminent Scholar in Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia. There she is responsible for initiating a graduate program in gifted education, developing a Center for Gifted Education and precollegiate programs and services, and working with school districts to develop gifted programs. Throughout the years, Joyce has been a visiting instructor and guest faculty appointee at such places as Michigan State University, University of Arkansas, University of North Carolina, and the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.

Currently, her work includes serving as an international consultant to Australia, United Arab Emirates, Germany, and Canada Joyce was a national consultant with various groups such as National/State Leadership Training Institute, United States Department of Education, National Association of Elementary Principals, and American Association of School Administrators. She is also a consultant to 15 state departments of education and 49 state school districts.

Joyce is a prolific writer and editor for educational texts, journals, reports, and newsletters. If the old adage "publish or perish" holds true in higher education, Joyce doesn't have to worry about unemployment! She has presented many professional papers at home, including Washington, D.C., and abroad, in Holland, Canada, Australia, and Germany.

Special honors include the Virginia Association for the Educators of the Gifted Lifetime Member Achievement Award and Who's Who in American Education.

In what little spare time she has, Joyce enjoys photography, writing prose and poetry, tennis, and reading. She is married to a quasi-retired psychologist, Leland. They have one daughter, Arrel.

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