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Change of Command
Col. Gerald Szybist speaks at the Academy Preparatory School change of command ceremony here June 30. Szybist takes over command of the Prep School from Col. Kabrena Rodda, who is scheduled to retire from the Air Force later this year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)
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USAFA welcomes new Prep School commander

Posted 6/30/2014   Updated 6/30/2014 Email story   Print story


by Amber Baillie
Academy Public Affairs

6/30/2014 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Col. Gerald P. Szybist was appointed as the 17th Academy Preparatory School commander after a change-of-command ceremony here June 30.

Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson passed the Prep School Guidon to Szybist to direct the one-year academic, military, athletic and character development program for the next two years.

Szybist comes to the Academy from the Pentagon, where he served as Force Protection and Operations Division chief.

He's a Class of '91 Academy graduate, holds a Master of Public Education from the University of Oklahoma, and completed the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

"He brings rich command experience and rich Air Force experience to his command and the Prep School," Johnson said. "He represents and understands the modern profession of arms, the greatest Air Force in the world and joint coalition global network operations. He has the training, education and expertise to lead our Prep School in the 21st century."
Szybist has served as a Combat Skills Course chief and flight commander and security forces squadron operations officer and commander.

"Twenty-seven years ago, on this very day, I said goodbye to my mom and my dad at the base of the ramp here and marched off to an amazing journey that has brought me here today," Szybist said. "I'm appreciative and thrilled about commanding our Air Force Academy Prep School.

Col. Kabrena Rodda became the Prep School's commander in 2012; she's scheduled to officially retire and plans to move to Washington, she said.

Under her command, standardized test scores at the Prep School improved with a 39 percent increase in reading speed, 6.5 percent increase in vocabulary scores and 29.5 percent increase in reading comprehension.

"The preppies academically did incredibly well," Rodda said. "They had the best academic performance within the last seven years including 50 percent fewer students on academic probation. Col. Szybist is a phenomenal leader with an amazing set of experiences and I'm excited to watch from afar as the Prep School continues to soar."

The Prep School was established in 1961. Its 10-month program provides an opportunity for selected men and women, including active duty Airmen, National Guard, Reserves and high school students, to earn an Academy appointment.

Graduating from the Prep School increases a cadet candidate's chance of admittance to the Academy.

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