Fort Leonard Wood's Noncommissioned Officers Academy welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa Duncan as its newest commandant in a change-of-commandants ceremony held March 29 in Nutter Field House.

Duncan, who returned to Fort Leonard Wood from Hawaii, where she was the Brigade Command Sergeant Major for the 8th Military Police Brigade, took charge of the academy from Command Sgt. Maj. Alma Zeladaparedes, who retired.

"The colors were passed today from one great leader to another, but the mission hasn't changed," said Maj. Gen. Kent Savre, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general. "The leaders of the NCOA will continue to develop noncommissioned officers -- members of the time-honored corps really, the backbone of the Army -- so that our Army is ready to execute whenever and wherever the nation calls."

During her speech, Duncan thanked Zeladaparedes, saying, "the academy is a well-oiled machine because of your leadership."

"The challenges of today's academy are much different than those of the past," Duncan said. "We're constantly learning, both cadre and students alike, as the mission, our Army and society are consistently changing. The tools we use to develop our leaders are enhanced with newer technology. The demands we have for the premier cadre are constrained with other requirements across the Army, such as drill sergeants, recruiters, first-time leaders and promotions, but these challenges are worth it."

She added, "our goal is to send them out sharper and stronger than when they came to us."

Savre, who presided over the ceremony, said Duncan has his absolute trust in leading the NCOA into the future.

"There is no better leader to take the reins and to keep the momentum moving forward for the Noncommissioned Officers Academy than Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa Duncan," he said. "She has an impressive resume; she brings a wealth of experience as a senior military police professional and noncommissioned officer -- she expertly led troops at every level."

He also highlighted a few of Zeladaparedes' many accomplishments during her time as commandant.

"(Zeladaparedes) was relentless in mentoring instructors and leaders, and always continued to fine-tune the framework for high quality, professional military education," Savre said. "She oversaw the execution of over 300 basic, advanced and senior leader classes while handing out roughly 10,000 graduation certificates. She also emphasized the Training and Doctrine Development and Recognition Program, which resulted in 17 out of 25 master instructors Army-wide coming from our academy."

Savre stressed the importance of the MSCoE NCOA, saying it is critical to the development of our future leaders.

"Just as the United States Army Noncommissioned Officer Corps has done for over 240 years, it continues to be the standard bearer for discipline, professionalism and relevant training for our nation's most precious resource -- the American Soldier," Savre said. "Here at our NCO Academy, we leverage the experiences of maneuver support NCOs to develop adaptive and professional warriors and leaders of character with unique engineer, chemical and military police skills that enables success across the very wide range of military operations."