Joyce grew up in the tiny community of Willisville, Arkansas, where she graduated from high school in a class of nine students.
Joyce was only the second person of color to graduate from the newly integrated school. Her older sister, Carolyn, was the first. Joyce earned an undergraduate degree in English and speech from Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and a graduate degree in English from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
Aware of the joyous virtue of education and the transformative power of politics at an early age, Joyce committed to becoming a public servant.
Her first path to public service led her to the classroom. For thirty years, Joyce taught high school juniors and seniors in our public schools (both Advanced Placement and standard classes).
After her teaching career, Joyce served as a State Representative from January 2001 through January 2007. In her final term, she was Chair of the Education Committee and served on the Committees on Insurance and Commerce; Budget; Personnel; and Energy. In both her second and third terms in the House, Joyce was named by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as one of Arkansas's Ten Best Legislators.
Joyce was elected to the Arkansas State Senate in November 2008, where she currently represents District 31. In her first term in the Arkansas Senate, Talk Business Arkansas magazine named her one of its Top Ten Legislators of 2009, the only freshman to be so named. Elliott currently serves on the Education Committee, where she is vice-chair; as well as the Insurance and Commerce; Budget; and Retirement Committees.
Joyce is the mother of one son, Elliott and the extremely proud grandmother to her granddaughter Athena. An outdoor enthusiast, Joyce enjoys traveling, especially to our National Parks, hiking, dancing, canoeing, zip lining, and whitewater rafting.