Riverside Military Academy Superintendent Col. Guy Gardner will be retiring from the school in June 2009 to be closer to his family in the Northeast.
Gardner assumed the superintendent position at Riverside Military Academy in April 2006, and said he would be willing to stay on at the academy past next summer, if necessary, in order to provide a smooth transition for the school. The Riverside Military Academy Board of Trustees is initiating a committee to search for a new superintendent of the school.
Gardner is a retired Air Force officer and a former NASA astronaut who piloted the space shuttles Atlantis in 1988 and Columbia in 1990. He said it is with reluctance that he and his wife Linda are leaving the Riverside community.
"Linda and I are at a point in our lives in which we want to put down roots to be closer to our children and family members," Gardner said in a prepared statement. "Making the decision to relocate has been a very difficult one for us as Riverside has become a part of our family and we have grown very attached to the Gainesville community."
Gardner said he chose to make the announcement of his retirement this week to all of the Riverside Military Academy Board of Trustees ample time to find the person most suitable to succeed him.
Fred Kennedy, chairman of the RMA Board of Trustees, said the military academy’s 100 year history is one of superior academic, leadership and character education.
"Col. Gardner has taken that standard of excellence and raised it to an even higher level," Kennedy said in a prepared statement. "His leadership over the past three years has significantly improved the academic performance of the cadets, has created a new positive and professional school climate and has energized everyone associated with RMA. He has set Riverside Military Academy on a new course that will allow RMA to meet its mission and goals for the next 100 years."
Kennedy said he and the academy’s Board of Trustees look forward to holding a recognition event in the spring to honor all of Gardner’s achievements.