Retired U.S. Army Col. Stanley C. “Stas” Preczewski was named the new president of Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville on Thursday, Oct. 11.
Preczewski will officially assume this role sometime in the spring.
He replaces Col. William Gallagher, who departed abruptly in May over a “private personnel matter.”
Lt. Col. James Spivey has served as interim president while a nationwide search for a new leader was conducted.
Preczewski is president of Georgia Gwinnett College, where he has served in that role since 2014.
Preczewski said his experience at Georgia Gwinnett allowed him to see what kinds of students K-12 school systems are producing, and his move to Riverside now allows him the opportunity to educate students about what is required them when they matriculate to a liberal arts college, trade school or the military.
“Leadership at any level … the principles are the same in terms of resource management, allocation, strategic guidance and vision,” Preczewski said. “That’s all the same”
Riverside serves as a college preparatory boarding school.
The military academy held its 111th commencement last spring. The 109 cadets receiving diplomas in the class of 2018 earned more than $3.7 million in merit scholarships.
The values and decorum expected of administration, faculty, staff and students is high caliber, and something Preczewski feels a calling for.
“In so many ways” it’s like coming home, he said. “My family is a military family.”
Preczewski served 26 years in the United States Army, retiring in 2006.
His awards and decorations include two Legion of Merit awards, four Meritorious Service Medals and the Army Commendation Medal, among others.
Preczewski and his wife, Jean, have three children, all of whom have served or are serving in the U.S. Army.
Preczewski received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Cornell University, a master’s degree from the United States Naval War College, and a doctorate in education from the University of Missouri.
Preczewski is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and was a fellow with the American Council on Education at Wake Forest University.
Preczewski, said he’s already lost 8 pounds since being offered the job, and he’s got a few more to go to get in uniform shape.
But his first priority in the monthslong transition that will take place before he assumes the presidency full time includes assessing the culture Riverside has established.
“My first goal is to learn everything there is to learn,” he added.
The needs of students, their families and faculty are critical to developing a vision for the future and depends on understanding the resources available and priorities of the larger community, Preczewski said.
“Not my goals — the goals of the institution,” he added. “Culture trumps strategy every day.”
That’s why he’ll be joining the local Rotary Club, for instance.
And, Preczewski said, “This culture is not limited to this campus. This culture sits within a community — Gainesville and the surrounding region. How can this institution be a part of the community in an even bigger way than it is now?”