What does the future hold for Missouri Military Academy? What will MMA look like five years from now? In 10 years? 20?
In 1889, the people of Mexico, Missouri, held a meeting to discuss the construction of a first-rate, academically sound educational institution for young men. “The benefits of such an institution,” reported the local newspaper, “were apparent to everyone present.”
More than 130 years later, much has changed for the Academy born from that initiative, but the benefits — and the need for leaders of character in our volatile world— remain the same.
For the Academy leadership, the MMA Strategic Plan is the intentional, driving force behind charting MMA’s future, one that builds upon the Academy’s strengths, focuses on its mission and responds to opportunities for growth and enhancement.
According to MMA President BG Richard V. Geraci, US Army (Ret), the need to effectively differentiate MMA from other military schools was on everyone's minds during plan development.
“‘What are we going to do to shape the future to our advantage, what are our competitive advantages, and are we prepared to take action under the most challenging conditions?’” Geraci says. “These were the questions we asked ourselves.”
The private boarding school market, and military boarding school market in particular, is counter-cultural, competitive and high risk, according to Geraci.
“Only the best will survive over time,” he adds, noting closures of military schools in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Kansas and Indiana in recent years.
Geraci has no doubt in the Academy’s strength to not only survive but also thrive over the next decade. Each day he watches cadets learn and grow and witnesses how the elements of structure, self-discipline, and accountability — too often missing in mainstream education — help young men take command of their lives and futures.
“MMA transforms young men through our military educational model,” Geraci says. “We are dedicated to maintaining our status as the premier college preparatory military academy in the Midwest and central states.”
While other military boarding schools have failed, MMA has weathered downturns and market changes to stay viable and strong.
“Today MMA operates without debt, which is a key factor in our success and a testament to the value of the education we offer and the business acumen of our board of trustees and those who have led the Academy,” Geraci says. “MMA remains strong, with a solid foundation — dedicated faculty, staff and alumni and top facilities — but we must continue to evolve to stay at the top of our business.”
According to Geraci, our success will be best accomplished by strong enrollment and unwavering financial commitment from alumni, patrons and friends. The Academy’s greatest challenge in succeeding with our strategic plan is the thoughtful allocation of necessary resources.
“Long-term sustainability takes combined effort and support from all,” he adds. “We will only succeed with the commitment of those who understand the importance of what MMA offers cadets. The leadership and involvement of our alumni are essential to communicate the importance of MMA — our alumni are the true proof of our success and living examples of the value of the MMA experience.”
Strategic goals for a strong future
The MMA Strategic Plan focuses on six overarching goals:
- Achieve sustainable enrollment with reasonable growth
- Develop cadet life programs that stimulate re-enrollment
- Create a comprehensive curriculum at all grade levels that align with national standards
- Sustain long-term financial stability
- Develop and implement strategies to recruit, retain and support a highly qualified workforce
- Explore new opportunities for growth and innovation
To achieve these goals, we will:
- Position MMA for the future by refocusing our brand, emphasizing our military traditions, and embracing why families send their children to MMA
- Realign our academic programs with national standards to better connect with potential cadets and their families and better serve our diverse cadet population
- Rejuvenate our Army JROTC program and establish a highly competitive rifle team, Fusileers drill team, Raiders team, Color Guard, and Academic Bowl team
- Reenergize our athletics, extracurricular and weekend activities and take advantage of our rich athletic heritage
- Develop a detailed plan to increase our ancillary revenue and number of potential Academy recruits by encouraging entrepreneurial creativity and adopting a comprehensive approach to expanding and executing summer camps and academic programs
- Enhance our employee pay, benefits, training and recognition programs to attract, invest in and retain high-quality staff, faculty and coaches, deepening the bench of potential organizational leaders to accommodate a more diverse cadet population and deliver on our value proposition
Goal One: Mission-driven, focused corps growth
Missouri Military Academy’s sole reason for existence centers on service to the young men and families who seek the highly structured, leadership-focused and character-driven education for which the Academy is known. MMA exists because we believe in our mission to unlock the potential of our cadets for them to learn to lead and to triumph. To fulfill this mission, we must achieve sustainable enrollment with reasonable growth of the corps.
Our strategic plan identifies the need to maximize our enrollment for both our domestic and international markets, identifying new opportunities and strengthening our current efforts. In addition, the plan specifies the development of a financial aid strategy that supports enrollment growth for a sustainable future.
Goal Two: Cadet life that challenges and empowers
For our cadets to achieve success, and the Academy to be successful, we must continuously deliver an exceptional cadet life experience and provide a structured and closely supervised environment with daily emphasis on life skills and a variety of exciting and challenging programs. We must provide clear evidence of the impact of MMA’s 360° Education™ and individual progress made by each cadet.
We will engage and challenge cadets through fun and exciting weekend activities and extracurricular activities; provide life skills lessons that develop resiliency and grit and promote a sense of direction, belonging and strong self-worth; and maintain strong academic, athletic and military teams, plus a competitive band and strong intramural program, to build esprit de corps and attract cadets.
Goal Three: 21st-century academic achievement
To differentiate ourselves from the competition and deliver true value for parents, MMA must develop and demonstrate educational innovation and academic achievement by providing instructional programs, with demanding coursework, that take advantage of emerging 21st-century classroom best practices.
Among the Academy’s innovative academic practices is the ability to create academic plans that allow cadets to start college while still in high school, creating exceptional value for families. Through the Triumph Program and our partnership with William Woods University, MMA designs academic plans to enable qualifying cadets to work toward their Associate of Arts degree at the same time they earn their high school diploma.
Goal Four: Financial strength for the future
Our business and financial practices must reflect our dedication to prudent, efficient and sound practices and decision-making that builds toward the Academy’s promising future. From the development of a campus master plan to refining tuition and scholarship strategies to seeking community and regional public/private partnerships, MMA will focus on increasing enrollment and revenue. Building a culture of philanthropy among alumni will be key to our success.
Goal Five: A high-quality and caring workforce
Our investment in people is an investment in the Academy’s future. We will develop and implement strategies to recruit, retain and support a highly qualified and diverse workforce, motivated and ready to respond to the needs of our cadets and partner with our parents. We will provide ongoing, high-quality professional development and training for all employee groups to build capacity, promote professionalism and optimal service, as well as increase employee safety.
Goal Six: Innovation for the future
While the strategic plan establishes clear goals and processes to strengthen the current MMA experience, the plan also reflects the need for the Academy to consider innovative changes. Considering market changes and challenges, MMA must adapt to stay relevant and strong.
“Our goal is not to reinvent MMA,” says R. Stribling Koster, chairman of the MMA Board of Trustees. “But we do recognize the need to continually develop and refine the Academy today and actively envision tomorrow’s MMA.”
Through the strategic plan, MMA leadership is researching and pursuing new opportunities and strategic partnerships consistent with our mission, core competencies and core values.
“I want to encourage and provide all alumni the opportunity to reconnect with MMA and become a part of our future,” Geraci says. “They occupy an amazing variety of positions with diverse responsibilities, some at the highest levels in their profession, and we want them engaged as role models for our current cadets. Our alumni's involvement will be instrumental for MMA’s future.”
Alumni and friends can help support MMA’s future by:
- recruiting families and new cadets
- helping find lost classmates
- supporting MMA programs through contributions of time, talent and treasure.
For more information, contact the alumni office at 573-581-1776, ext. 222.