David Humphreys, the President and CEO of TAMKO Building Products and grandson of its founder, and his wife Debra, were strategic in the creation of a private school in Joplin in 1993 to provide the community’s students with the chance to earn a first-class education. The 35,000-square-foot school was built on a 26-acre site donated by TAMKO and located just east of Rangeline and Newman Road. The school cost approximately $2 million to build.
In 2010, David and Debra helped fund the school’s new 45,000-square-foot addition for the Performing Arts and Student Life Complex. Their donation prompted other families to donate a total of $2.1 million. The construction was finished in 2012. By that year, the school’s enrollment reached almost 300 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12.
Enrollment is open to all students, with financial aid available to qualifying students. More than half of the student body receives financial assistance or scholarships. The school awards more than $600,000 in financial aid each year to almost half of the student population. Another $600,000 is funded by the Humphreys family annually in the form of academic and need-based student scholarships. The merit-based E.L. Craig Scholarship (named after the founder of TAMKO) gives full tuition to up to 12 students. The Humphreys need-based scholarships cover 50% of tuition costs for up to 50 students. Children of TAMKO employees are automatically eligible for these scholarships.
“We feel that having a community with a lot of vibrant educational opportunities for kids is a key to the community being successful,” said Debra Humphreys. “We’re invested in Joplin as a community, and we’re invested in Thomas Jefferson as a school.”
Since the school opened, it has graduated 20 classes and 100 percent of its graduates go to college.
“The Humphreys are involved in the school. They take pride in it and they spend lots of hours of hard work in it. It’s a huge devotion of their time and effort and they’ve never relented since day one,” said Ivan Crossland, CEO of Crossland Construction, the company that built the school.