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.

Another proud new cadet and her family. #CadetNotPlebe ...

LT Onesti sent in another great shot before the Recognition Ceremony. ...

Its Recognition Day! They will not be plebes much longer. ...

The Academy Admissions Team was treated to some awesome cookies by a parent who is back for Recognition Weekend. ...

Dave Combs, VFMC class of '65 speaking to Col Helgeson. Vietnam era Marine Capt... in town for USMC Basic School class 5-67 reunion in Philly (with classmates). First time back since he graduated! ...

On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we remember the sacrifices and service of those who were prisoners of war and those who are missing in action – may they never be forgotten! ...

Our Academy leadership class is volunteering at the Freedom Foundation's Medal of Honor Grove this morning. They are helping to prevent erosion with some good manual labor. ...

Happy Birthday to the @usairforce - thank you for your service! ...

ROTC cadets conduct the new OPAT Interval Aerobic Run . ...

ROTC cadets are participating in the OPAT(Occupational Physical Assessment Test) this morning in the new Cadet Performance Center. ...

Office of the President

  • Col Stuart B. Helgeson, USMCR (Ret.)
    Col Stuart B. Helgeson, USMCR (Ret.)
    Superintendent & COO
  • Vincent Vuono
    Vincent Vuono
    CFO

Senior Leadership

  • Maureen Malone
    Maureen Malone
    Dean, Valley Forge Military College
  • Colonel J.J. Rivera, USMCR
    Colonel J.J. Rivera, USMCR
    Commandant of Cadets
  • Dr. Paul M. Lea ’87, ’89C
    Dr. Paul M. Lea ’87, ’89C
    Dean, Valley Forge Military Academy
  • Rich Casey
    Rich Casey
    Director of Athletics
  • LTC Brett A. Gambacorta
    LTC Brett A. Gambacorta
    Professor of Military Science (PMS)

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

Superintendent & Chief Operating OfficerColonel Stuart B. Helgeson, USMCR (Ret.)1201
Chief Financial OfficerMr. Vincent Vuono1232
Commandant of CadetsColonel J.J. Rivera, USMCR1256
Professor of Military Sciences (SROTC)LTC Brett A. Gambacorta, U.S. Army1440
Senior Director of Institutional AdvancementMrs. Kat Elsmore1328
Head of Facilities OperationsMr. George Else1354
Director of AthleticsMr. Rich Casey1491
Director of Human ResourcesMs. Kate Smith1240
Director of Marketing & CommunicationsMrs. Mary Heller1345
Director of Alumni RelationsMr. Thomas Goldblum ’69, '71C1329
Institutional Advancement CoordinatorMrs. Tammy M. Mott1330
Director of Information TechnologyMr. Michael G. Brock1246
Bursar / Cadet Accounts Manager1237
Dean, Valley Forge Military AcademyDr. Paul M. Lea, '87, '89C1360
Associate Dean, Valley Forge Military AcademyMr. Aaron Barkley1382
Director of Lower School, Valley Forge Military AcademyMrs. Lauren Wochok1401
Director of Academy AdmissionsMr. Derek Frazier '101303
Dean, Valley Forge Military CollegeMs. Maureen Malone1453
Senior Director of Admissions, Valley Forge Military CollegeMrs. Dawn Dreese1307
Director of Financial Aid, Valley Forge Military CollegeMr. Ed Flocco1300
Bandmaster / Director of MusicMr. Vincent DeMarro1252
Director of HorsemanshipMs. Maria Metz1502
Director of Student Activities & Summer CampsMrs. Elizabeth Boylan1253
Cadet StoreMr. Josh Konoza1540
Director of Health ServiceMs. Debbie Hammer1518
Director of Library ServicesMs. Dana Kerrigan1364
Chaplain and Director of Character DevelopmentCAPT Gerry Hale, USCG (Ret)1506
Director of Special EventsMs. Jessica Sekerak1509
Col Stuart B. Helgeson, USMCR (Ret.)
Superintendent & COO

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, Col Helgeson was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Following The Basic School, and subsequently the Infantry Officer’s Course, Col Helgeson reported for duty with 1st Battalion 2D Marines, 2D Marine Division, stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC.  During his tour, he served with Company A as a Rifle Platoon Commander.  He participated in Exercise Alpine Warrior, and later was deployed for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Upon his return in 1991, he was selected to be the 2D Marine Regiment’s Scout Platoon Commander.

In October 1991, then 1st Lieutenant Helgeson was selected for duty with 2D Force Reconnaissance Company, 2D SRIG, II MEF. As a platoon commander at 2D Force Reconnaissance Company, he participated in operation Victor Square and was deployed as the Detachment and Platoon Commander with the 22nd MEU (SOC) where he participated in operation Provide Promise and Deny Flight (former Yugoslavia) and Continue Hope (Somalia).  Upon return from Deployment in 1994, he received orders to The Basic School.

Upon reporting to The Basic School, Colonel Helgeson was assigned as the primary patrolling instructor.  In 1995, he was assigned as an instructor at the Infantry Officer Course.  In August 1997, upon completion of his duties at the Infantry Officer course, he attended Amphibious Warfare School in Quantico, VA, from where he graduated in May 1998.

In June 1998, Colonel Helgeson was assigned as the Head Coach for the Sprint Football team at the United States Naval Academy. While assigned to the Naval Academy, then Major Helgeson was also assigned duties as a leadership instructor, Marine Corps Capstone Class instructor, OIC of the Physical remedial program and member of the Marine Corps Selection team. In June of 1999, Major Helgeson and three other Marines Biked and Ran across America to raise money for the Children’s Hopes and Dreams foundation, completing the ride and run in 27 days.

In August 2000, Colonel Helgeson left active duty for civilian employment with MBNA Bank in Wilmington, DE and transferred to the IRR. In 2004, he joined the Selected Marine Corps Reserve and took command of Co B 6th Engineer Support Battalion in Wilmington, DE. During this time, he completed the Command and Staff College. In May of 2005, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and in October of 2005 was assigned to The Marine Emergency Planning and Liaison Officer Program (MEPLO), whose team covered the Mid-Atlantic and National Command Region of the United States.

In 2009, LtCol Helgeson joined 4th Reconnaissance Battalion as the Executive Officer and then assumed Battalion Command. LtCol Helgeson and Marines from 4th Reconnaissance Battalion participated in Exercise Commando Raj with The British Royal Marines and 2nd Royal Ghurka Battalion in Brunei and the South China Sea.  In 2010 Lieutenant Colonel Helgeson was mobilized and transferred to Marine Corps Special Operation Command (MARSOC) and deployed to Afghanistan assigned to Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command – Afghanistan (CFSOCC-A), where he performed the duties as Director of Special Operations Plans and Liaison Element for RC-W. In August 2010, after returning from Operation Enduring Freedom, then Lieutenant Colonel Helgeson help create the MARSOC G-9 Recruiting, Assessment & Selection Branch where he was responsible for recruiting and screening Marines for duty with MARSOC. Upon completion of his mobilization in October 2011, Colonel Helgeson began working in business development for Sechan Electronics, Inc., a defense electronics manufacturing service provider based in Lititz, PA.

In January, 2013, while employed at Sechan Electronics, Colonel Helgeson was promoted and transferred to MAGTF Staff Training Program Reserve IMA Detachment in Quantico VA.  In July 2013, he was mobilized to support II MEF FWD as the Special Operations Coordinator (SOCORD) for RC-SW, Helmand & Nimroz providences. After returning from Operation Enduring Freedom in February 2014, Colonel Helgeson returned to his role at Sechan Electronics.

In April 2015, Colonel Helgeson joined Marine Forces Europe/Africa, in Stuttgart, Germany Reserve IMA Detachment where he assumed duties as the Deputy G-5.   A year later, Colonel Helgeson was selected to his present billet to be the Regional Coordinator, Reserve Support Program Region 3, the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

Vincent Vuono
CFO

Mr. Vincent J. Vuono serves as the Valley Forge Military Academy Foundation’s Treasurer and VFMAC’s Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Vuono is responsible for Finances, Information Technology, Facilities, Human Resources and serves as our Risk Manager.

Mr. Vuono has been with Valley Forge since 2006 and joined the Forge with 21 years of experience in commercial finance serving in various leadership positions in the insurance financing industry with companies owned by the Reliance Insurance Company and later Aon, the world’s largest insurance broker. Previously, Mr. Vuono was a public accountant with KPMG and has been a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in Pennsylvania since 1982. He is a member of both the American and Pennsylvania Institutes of CPA’s.

Mr. Vuono earned his BS in Accounting from LaSalle University, and an MBA in Finance from Drexel University. He and his wife Mary have two children, Caitlyn (married to Michael Sheehan) and Vincent (married to Cassidy Hobbs).

Maureen Malone
Dean, Valley Forge Military College

Ms. Maureen Malone was appointed College Dean in August 2016 after serving Valley Forge Military College for nine years in numerous leadership capacities, which included Assistant Dean of Academic Services and Assistant Dean of Academics and Assessment.  Dean Malone brings a diverse educational and business background to her appointment. She began her career as a Treasury Analyst Assistant for Health America, and then became an Associate Accountant for the CPA firm Kisel, Grenel and Associates. Eventually, she took a position as the business manager for a medical practice that specialized in podiatry medicine.

Having been successful in business, she expanded her professional career into “for-profit” education, and became a member of University of Phoenix’s advising and financial services team. Dean Malone came to Valley Forge Military College in 2007 and served as the College Registrar. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, and a Masters in Library and Information Science, both from the University of Pittsburgh.

 

Colonel J.J. Rivera, USMCR
Commandant of Cadets
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.

Rich Casey
Director of Athletics

Mr. Richard Casey has been the Director of Athletics for VFMAC since June 2013.

Mr. Casey has been an active participant in Philadelphia athletics for more than 20 years as a player, coach, and athletic director. He began his athletic career as a high school basketball and baseball player for North Catholic High School in the early 80’s and continued playing both basketball and baseball in college. Mr. Casey began his coaching career at the Friends Select Middle School, where he coached the girls’ basketball team while spending his summer coaching girls’ basketball for Cathy Rush’s, Future Stars Basketball Camps.

Mr. Casey went on to coach men’s basketball at Archbishop Ryan High School under the direction of Coach Dave Mulholland, and soon entered the college coaching ranks at Manor College. After much success at Manor, he accepted the Head Men’s Basketball coaching position at Neumann University, and continued his career with the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP) as Assistant to the Athletic Director, Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach, and Head Women’s Softball Coach. Additionally, Mr. Casey has spent the last six summers as Director for the Philadelphia 76ers summer and seasonal camps. After leaving USP, he was excited to continue his growth as an athletic administrator as the Athletic Director at John W. Hallahan High School for Girls where he also served as Head Women’s Softball Coach.

Mr. Casey graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing Management. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Caroline, and their two daughters, Gwenyth and Darby.

LTC Brett A. Gambacorta
Professor of Military Science (PMS)

LTC Brett A. Gambacorta was commissioned in 2003 from Towson University, assigned to the Armor Branch, and completed the Armor Officer Basic Course in May of 2004.

He was first assigned as a reconnaissance platoon leader in A Troop, 1/2 Cavalry Regiment at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He then served as a reconnaissance platoon leader and troop executive officer in 4/2 Cavalry Regiment at Fort Lewis, Washington. His next leadership assignments were Commander, A Troop 8-1 Cavalry Regiment and Headquarters Troop 8-1 Cavalry Regiment at Fort Lewis, Washington. He then served as the Operations Officer (S3) for 6-9 Cavalry Squadron at Fort Hood, Texas and the Operations Officer (S3) of the 174th Infantry Brigade at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

His other assignments include: Task Force Operations Officer, Task Force Zabul, Afghanistan. Brigade Planner, 5-2 Stryker Brigade. Battle Major, III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas.

LTC Gambacorta is a graduate of the Armor Officer Basic Course, The Maneuver Officer Advanced Course, and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He is also a graduate of the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course, the Cavalry Leaders course, and Airborne School. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Towson University and a Master of Arts in Adult Education from Kansas State University.

LTC Gambacorta’s military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with one oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device and three oak leave clusters, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.

LTC Gambacorta was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in June 2019 and is currently assigned as the Professor of Military Science (PMS) at Valley Forge Military College in Wayne, PA.