Ms. Lauren Wochok opened the fall academic year as dean of Valley Forge Military Academy. She replaced Paul Lea, IV who was named president of Valley Forge Academy in Doha, Qatar. Prior to her appointment as dean, Ms. Wochok served as the assistant dean since 2020.
“We are fortunate to have already in place someone who knows the Cadets and our school very well and has had an instrumental role in its success. There is no one better to continue developing citizen leaders and readying them for college,” said Col Stuart B. Helgeson USMCR (Ret), president of Valley Forge Military Academy & College.
The quiet of summer enabled focus on fall planning – something Ms. Wochok calls crucial for faculty, administration and especially the students. “My first months as dean have gone very well,” she said. ”I am enjoying working with the new teachers, helping them adapt to the teaching environment here. Being present in the classroom creates relationships for an inclusive environment where everyone feels safe and comfortable – something we want for everyone here.”
Even with a long history with VFMA, Ms. Wochok knows the discipline expected of students applies to her as well. “It is important to establish a good routine early and from the beginning. Coupled with consistency, Cadets know they can rely on you to be where you say you will be and available to them when they need it,” said Ms. Wochok. “ I make it a point to be with them every morning at school call formation and spend time in the hallways between classes for a quick hello and check on how they are doing.”
Among her goals, is an increased community service role for cadets. Among the fall events where Cadets will be in the community include working with vendors and the Wayne American Legion for a community clean up, supporting Radnor with set-up and break-down for a 5K run, and supporting the 23rd Veterans organization on a ruck march in November.
Ms. Wochok sees these events as an extension of classroom learning. “Teaching Cadets the valuable lessons that come with community service are critical as part of their educational journey,” she said. “The class of 2024 will need to produce documentation that they have fulfilled this community service obligation. And faculty helps plan these critical events and accompanies them in the service.”
Ms. Wochok holds a BS in Elementary and Special Education from Millersville University, an M.S. in Educational Leadership from Cabrini University, and holds a Principal Certification from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
“It is a privilege for me to be here at VFMA,” said Ms. Wochok. “As part of the Corps of Cadets, VFMA students learn to help and rely on one another for individual and corporate success, and as we develop these citizen leaders, we want them to recognize the role they have in an increasingly global community.”
The VFMA Cadets are in good hands with their new dean.