Leadership

Meet the Valley Forge Leadership Team

Our leadership team is committed to making Valley Forge one of the premier institutes for forming young men and women into the leaders of tomorrow.

On Saturday, most of our Plebes were recognized as Cadets in the 94th Corps of Cadets. These two months of hard work have paid off!

Families (especially little siblings) were happy to be reunited with their Cadets.

#couragehonorconquer
...

We celebrated the groundbreaking of a new athletic complex this week.

The complex includes a new synthetic turf field and accompanying track and field resources.

“This is only the first step of our strategic plan and vision,” Colonel Helgeson said. “We are grateful for the partnership with Eastern University and are thrilled that we will be able to offer first-class facilities to our cadet-athletes.

“Once this project is completed, we will immediately look to begin phase two of our sports complex upgrades, which will provide VFMAC and the surrounding community with much-needed sports and recreational fields and facilities.”

#couragehonorconquer #waynepa
...

@vfmacademy

Mr Zane Hadzick, a Senior Emergency Management Specialist is speaking this morning to Mr Smallwood's Leadership Class.

He spoke about real world leadership experiences and how to lead yourself to better lead others.

#couragehonorconquer
...

Thanks @vfmcollege

Mason Beausoleil '21C is attending the University of Mississippi after graduating from VFMC last year. At a recent record setting game he was a part of the excitement as a Cannon Crew member for Army ROTC. Mason is continuing his Criminal Justice studies at UM.

Hotty Toddy and Go Rebs!

#couragehonorconquer
...

@vfmacademy
The Chinese Club and part of their VFMAC Family.

#couragehonorconquer
...

@vfmacademy @vfmac_regimental_band

It is a beautiful day for the Radnor Fall Fest. The talent of our Regimental Band is making it even better.

#couragehonorconquer
...

It's Friday afternoon and the Corps of Cadets is on the Parade Field. They are practicing for our upcoming Founders Day Parade. ...

@vfmacademy

VFMA was honored to participate in this weekends Delaware County Veterans Memorial Flag Raising Ceremony.

Photo Credit: Captain Chris Onesti
...

@vfmcollege

Our Regimental Commander, Cadet First Captain Coley Bagwell was presented with General Gustave Perna's sabre.

General Perna, a VFMC Alumnus, is the highest ranking officer ever commissioned by the Early Commissioning Program at any school.

#couragehonorconquer
...

A Moment of Silence and a lesson this morning.

Photo: Cadet Connor Staroweski

#neverforget
...

@vfma_rifle_club
In respectful memory of Durrell Pearsall‚ VF ‘86 who was killed in the line of duty on 11 Sept 2001, responding to the World Trade Center attacks.

A member of New York Fire Department’s Rescue 4 (Engine 292), Pearsall was 34 years old when he died.

@wtc @vfmacademy @fdny @nyc @911memorial 🇺🇸
...

 

Senior Leadership

  • Col Stuart B. Helgeson, USMCR (Ret)
    Col Stuart B. Helgeson, USMCR (Ret)
    President
  • Colonel J.J. Rivera, USMCR
    Colonel J.J. Rivera, USMCR
    Commandant of Cadets
  • LTC Josh Meyer
    LTC Josh Meyer
    Professor of Military Science (PMS)
  • Dr. Paul M. Lea ’87, ’89C
    Dr. Paul M. Lea ’87, ’89C
    Dean, Valley Forge Military Academy
  • William Mott
    William Mott
    Garrison Sergeant Major
  • Dr. Robert Smith
    Dr. Robert Smith
    Provost, Valley Forge Military College
  • Eric Saul
    Eric Saul
    CFO

Contact
Main Telephone: (610) 989-1200
Toll Free Telephone: (800) 234-8362
Main Fax: (610) 688-1545

Phone and Email Conventions

Unless otherwise noted, all phone numbers begin with (610) 989-XXXX. Add the 4-digit extension, listed by department, for the person you wish to reach.

If you know a staff member’s name and would like to reach him/her via e-mail, the following format can be used to do so: “first initial, last name” followed by “@vfmac.edu”. Therefore, if the individual’s name were John Public, it would translate into: “jpublic@vfmac.edu”

Staff Contact Information

PresidentCol Stuart B. Helgeson, USMCR (Ret.)1201
Commandant of CadetsCol J.J. Rivera, USMCR1256
Chief Financial OfficerMr. Eric Saul1325
Professor of Military Sciences (SROTC)LTC Joshua Meyer U.S. Army1440
Dean, Valley Forge Military AcademyDr. Paul M. Lea, '87, '89C1360
Provost, Valley Forge Military CollegeDr. Robert Smith1458
Garrison Sergeant MajorGSM William Mott1471
Director of DevelopmentMs. Stephanie Helgeson1328
Dean of College Services/ Financial Aid & Admissions/ Title IX CoordinatorDr. Jesse Phillips1467
Registrar, Valley Forge Military CollegeLtCol Tracey Hartley1450
Enrollment Manager, Valley Forge Military CollegeMr. Audie Murphy1302
Director of Alumni RelationsMr. Thomas Goldblum ’69, '71C1329
Head of Facilities OperationsMr. George Else1354
Director of Information TechnologyMr. Michael G. Brock1246
Bursar / Cadet Accounts ManagerMs. Jennifer Berry1230
Associate Dean, Valley Forge Military AcademyMr. Aaron Barkley1382
Assistant Dean, Valley Forge Military AcademyMrs. Lauren Wochok1401
Director of Admissions, Valley Forge Military AcademyMs. Anna Brennan1561
Director International AdmissionsMr. Kerry Sethi1315
Bandmaster / Director of MusicMr. Vincent DeMarro1252
Director of Cadet Activities & Summer CampsMrs. Elizabeth Boylan1253
Director of Health CenterMs. Debbie Hammer1518
Director of Library ServicesMs. Dana Kerrigan1364
Director of AthleticsMr. Mike Muscella1492
Col Stuart B. Helgeson, USMCR (Ret)
President

Colonel Helgeson was named President of Valley Forge Military Academy and College in March of 2020 after previously serving as Chief Operating Officer, Superintendent and Commandant of Cadets. Colonel Helgeson attended Penn State University where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. At Penn State he played Varsity Lacrosse and later walked on to the football team as a receiver on the 1986 National Championship and 1987 Citrus Bowl Teams. Upon graduation Colonel Helgeson was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

During his time on active duty he participated in a wide range of training exercises and operational deployments including Exercise Alpine Warrior, Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm (Iraq), Operation Provide Promise and Deny Flight (former Yugoslavia) and Continue Hope (Somalia). In 1998 after serving as an instructor at The Infantry Officer Course, Colonel Helgeson was assigned as the Head Coach for the Sprint Football team at the United States Naval Academy. While at the Naval Academy, he and three other Marines biked and ran across America in 27 days to raise money for the Children’s Hopes and Dreams Foundation.

In 2000 Colonel Helgeson left active duty for civilian employment with MBNA Bank in Wilmington, DE. In 2004 he joined the Selected Marine Corps Reserve, took command of an Engineer Support Company and completed the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. After assignments as Executive Officer and Commander of 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, he was mobilized and deployed to Afghanistan with the Marine Corps Special Operations Command in 2010. In 2011 he returned to civilian employment with Sechan Electronics, a defense electronics manufacturing service provider based in Lititz, Pennsylvania. In 2013 he was once again mobilized and deployed to Afghanistan and served as Special Operations Coordinator for Helmand and Nimroz provinces.

Colonel Helgeson and his wife, Stephanie, have three children: Stuart, Sarah, and Samantha.

Colonel J.J. Rivera, USMCR
Commandant of Cadets

Colonel (Col) Julian J. Rivera was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science with a concentration in Mathematics from the Virginia Military Institute and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program in May of 1996. Upon graduation from the Basic School in January 1997, he reported to NAS Pensacola, Florida, for flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in April 1999.

Over the course of his 24 year (and counting) career in the United Stated Marine Corps, Colonel Rivera has been assigned every duty within a Light Attack Helicopter Squadron, from Operations Schedule Writer to safety Officer to Maintenance Officer, in both active duty and reserve functions, during peacetime and combat operations, as well as several staff positions at the Group level (Rgmt), to include Executive Officer.

In 2006, Colonel Rivera left active duty. While he remained active as a Huey Pilot in the Marine Corps Reserves, he began work as a Lead Pilot for The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s Emergency Medical Service Helicopter program – PennSTAR Flight.

In July 2014, Lieutenant Colonel Rivera returned to active duty as the Marine Aircraft Group 49 (MAG-49) full time Aviation Combat Element (ACE) lead planner for Integrated Training Exercise 4-15, and in the Summer of 2015 remained on active duty to serve as the MAG-49 Site Commander for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.

In May 2016 he returned to the “Red Dogs”, as he took command of HMLA-773, a Light Attack Helicopter Squadron consisting of eighteen AH-1W Super Cobras and thirteen UH-1Y Venom helicopters, located in both Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ and Naval Air Station Belle Chasse, LA. In May 2018, he relinquished command and returned to MAG-49 as the Executive Officer, as well as a drilling reservist.

At that same time, Colonel Rivera joined the Valley Forge Military Academy and College team as a Lead Tactical Officer in the College, and in the summer of 2019 became the Commandant of Cadets.

Currently, in the Marine Corps Reserves, Colonel Rivera serves as the Regional Coordinator for Reserve Support Program – Region III, where he leads and a team of 40 IMA Marines that continue the faith, and administratively and tactically support and serves our Marines that have begun inactive service. (Approximately 10,000 Marines in the Northeastern United States).

His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star in lieu of second award, Air Medal with 22 Strike/Flight awards, as well as two individual Combat Valor awards, Navy Commendation Medal with the Combat “V” and Gold Star in lieu of second award, and two Navy Achievement Medals. He is married to the former Laura Cieniawa.

LTC Josh Meyer
Professor of Military Science (PMS)

Lieutenant Colonel Josh Meyer grew up largely in upstate New York and is a 2005 Distinguished Military Graduate from Norwich University where he received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in Army Aviation.

LTC Meyer earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from Norwich University and a Masters of Military Operational Art and Science Degree from Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL. His military education includes the Aviation Officer Basic Course, Aviation Captain’s Career Course, and the Air Command and Staff College.

His command and staff assignments include serving as a Platoon Leader, Executive Officer, Battalion S1, and Battalion Assistant S3 for 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment (Fort Campbell, KY); Commander of F Company, 1st Battalion, 212th Aviation Regiment (Fort Rucker, AL); Commander of A Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, Battalion Operations Officer for 3rd Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, and the Brigade Chief of Operations for the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division (Fort Carson, CO); Battalion Operations Officer for 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, and the Brigade Operations Officer for the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Fort Drum, NY).

LTC Meyer deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Europe in support of Atlantic Resolve. LTC Meyer’s most recent assignment was as a Presidential Airlift Coordinator for the White House Military Office in Washington, D.C.
LTC Meyer’s awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC), Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal (2 OLC), Army Achievement Medal (1 OLC), Meritorious Unit Citation, and the Army Superior Unit Award. He has earned the Senior Army Aviator Badge, Combat Action Badge, Air Assault Badge, as well as the Presidential Service Badge. Additionally, LTC Meyer is a graduate of Summer and Winter Mountain Warfare Schools and is an instructor pilot in the UH-60A/L and UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters.

LTC Meyer is married to the former Ms. Allison Snyder from Charlton, NY and they have two young children.

Dr. Paul M. Lea ’87, ’89C
Dean, Valley Forge Military Academy

Dr. Paul M. Lea ’87, ’89C became the Dean of Valley Forge Military Academy in July of 2018.

In his position, Dr. Lea is responsible for leading our Academy staff as they guide our cadets toward successful futures. Dr. Lea brings more than 28 years of experience to VFMA, and as a member of VFMA Class of 1987 and VFMC Class of 1989, he has unique insight and perspective into what makes Valley Forge great – and how to help our cadets excel.

After graduating from VFMC, Dr. Lea served in several leadership positions in Philadelphia’s 1st Squadron/104th Cavalry (PAARNG), including as Company Executive Officer, Scout Platoon Leader and Medical Platoon Leader, where he was responsible for the training and tactical employment of tank or armored reconnaissance units, among other tasks. His past management and operations experience includes positions as Director of Research Operations at New Health Sciences, Inc. in Bethesda, Md.; Senior Director-Research & Clinical Operations at Cangen Biotechnologies in Baltimore, Md.; Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA) Consultant for ECS-Federal Information Systems Worldwide Corp. in Arlington, Va. He is also the owner of Bench to Bedside Global, LLC, in Annandale, Va., a certified consulting company that provides professional, scientific and technical services to academia, government agencies, hospitals, venture capital firms and others.

In addition to his management expertise, Dr. Lea also has a strong background in education, serving on the faculty of North Virginia Community College in Annandale, before becoming the Assistant Dean of Engineering last year.

Dr. Lea earned his Postdoctorate in neurophysiology from Georgetown University, a Ph.D. in Physiology from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, a Master’s degree in biology from Villanova University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (cum laude) from Cabrini College. He has also completed an Armor Officer Basic Course and a Scout Platoon Leaders Course at the U.S. Armor School in Fort Knox, Ky.

William Mott
Garrison Sergeant Major

I served in the British Army for 37 years, culminating in the last 13 years serving in London as the Garrison Sergeant Major London District. In that post I was heavily involved planning and executing all ceremonial events, the likes of the Royal Wedding of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee celebrations, amongst many others and I retired and moved to Kentucky in 2015.

It was in 2018 when I was approached by VFMAC to come and join the staff here as a Lead TAC Officer, an appointment I found very rewarding, watching the young lads develop and mature in so many positive ways. This role I held for my first year. I was then asked to move into the HQ and work more closely with admissions in a Recruiting and Retention role. Visiting different Schools in various Counties and States.

However, I remain heavily involved with the day to day activities here at Valley Forge and I feel an enormous sense of pride being a part of the experiences each of our cadets live every day. Whilst they continue to become stronger, more confidant and develop into wonderful young men.

Name: William Mott

Title: Director of Academy Admissions

Contact Information

Email: wmott@vfmac.edu

Phone Number:  610-989-1471

Dr. Robert Smith
Provost, Valley Forge Military College

Dr. Robert Smith joined VFMC in 2019 as Chief Academic Officer, before also being appointed Provost of the College in 2020. In these roles he manages day-to-day operations of the college in areas of academics, admissions, student activities, and student support services.

Smith earned his doctorate in Early American History and the History of Technology from Lehigh University in 2008. His dissertation, which examined the role of government coordination of weapons production in the American Revolution was published in 2016 as Manufacturing Independence: Industrial Innovation in the American Revolution. He completed a minor doctoral field in non-profit management, and used that background to manage Pan Piec Loi, a small non-profit organization that provided secondary school and college scholarships to young men in Uganda, Africa.

Smith attended Villanova University prior to Lehigh, where he earned a masters degree in American history. He also earned a masters in education from Northwest Nazarene University where he focused on curriculum innovation and development. Smith started his education at Gwynedd-Mercy University completing separate bachelors degrees in history and business administration.

Prior to arriving at VFMC, Smith was Assistant Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Northampton Community College. In that position he managed faculty, developed curriculum, oversaw several special events, and directed the college’s dual enrollment programs. Preceding his administrative position, Smith was both a full and part-time instructor at several institutions, including Harford Community College, Mercer County Community College, Peirce College, and Gwynedd-Mercy University. He started his career, however, in development as Director of Alumni Affairs at Gwynedd-Mercy University.

Smith is a Fulbright Scholar, who traveled to Russia in 2019 to exchange ideas and develop partnerships between Russian and American universities. He has also earned the Lawrence Henry Gipson Fellowship from Lehigh University and a learning fellowship from the National Endowment for Humanities.

Throughout his historical studies Smith focused his research on diplomatic and military history, presenting his findings at various conferences on topics including generalship and battle tactics in the American Revolution, development of the War Department, diplomacy in the Civil War, and the rise and fall of the Confederate Navy. He has also used his academic experience and training to speak publicly in numerous forums on topics of two-year education in American colleges, the adaptability of American higher education, and the processes for innovation in American curriculum. Smith’s current research work is focused on preparing a biography of Brigadier General Francis Nash, who led North Carolina forces in the American Revolution and was mortally wounded at the Battle of Germantown.

Smith was, and continues to be heavily involved in Scouting, having served as various times as a Cubmaster, Den Leader, and Scoutmaster. He earned the rank of Eagle and completed the Woodbadge program.

Eric Saul
CFO
Translate »