A former professor and dean at the Valley Forge Military College just back from active duty in Afghanistan will head the two-year institution in July.

The college announced Friday that Lt. Col. John C. Church Jr. has been named president of the coed college. He will report to Col. David R. Gray, incoming president of the overall Valley Forge Military Academy and College, a Valley Forge spokeswoman said.

Church, a decorated U.S. Marine Corps veteran, has just completed an active-duty assignment planning civil-military operations with the Second Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Helmand province.

Before being activated and sent to Afghanistan, Church directed the Service Academy Preparatory Program at Valley Forge.

The academy, which begins with seventh grade, enrolls 226 male day and boarding students. An additional 283 students attend the junior college.

Col. John Ford remains headmaster of the academy, a post he has held since July 2009.

Contact staff writer Martha Woodall at 215-854-2789 or martha.woodall@phillynews.com.