As Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville prepares for a new school year, a new school president is preparing for his first year as the school's leader.
Colonel (R) Stanley C. Preczewski, USA, Ph.D. was named Riverside's tenth president in March. He said since he has taken the job, he's learned the passion that parents and long-time school stakeholders have for the academy.
"There's parent-teacher organizations and so on, you hear of like PTA's. This isn't like that, these are parents who are firmly committed. They travel from other countries and other states," Preczewski said. "The alumni association here acts as if it's a robust ivy league ranked college, yet it's a high school."
Preczewki said he has been working with all parts of the community since before taking the job to find out what students, parents, teachers and donors want to see out of the school moving forward. He said many people said they wanted the school to focus on transparent communication.
"I felt it was important that people knew me when I was not in the official role yet and I got to know them while they were willing to talk openly and freely," Preczewski said. "We want to make sure that everything we do here is transparent, it's accurate, it's well-formed in advance so we can do planning instead of reacting."
He said he plans to include that idea of transparency into the school's five-year plan which is currently being put together by school officials along with help from a professional firm.
"While it sets priorities, it also means here are the things we're not going to do over the next five years, which is just as important," Preczewski said. "So we're building through that."
Preczewski said he hopes to complete the five-year plan before the end of this school year. In the mean time, he said he has been focused on improving the school's safety infrastructure.
"The board that governs Riverside has already allocated considerable sums of money to enhance all of our safety and security programs, making them much more visible," Preczewski said.
The primary challenge facing the school moving forward, according to Preczewski, is resources. He said he feels the school has the staff and community support in place to overcome any shortages of tangible resources.
"Most people when you say resources think what? Money," Preczewski said. "Money's only part of it. Having the right people. Good people can make up for a budget shortfall, good people can make up for lousy technology."
Classes at Riverside Military Academy begin on August 13. The school is located on Riverside Drive in Gainesville.