ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Dr. Shaun Nelms, the superintendent of the University of Rochester’s East Educational Partnership Organization (EPO), has been appointed as the University’s Vice President of Community Partnerships.

The new role was established by UR President Sarah Mangelsdorf in an attempt to give structure to the University’s work with local and national partners. Nelms will assume the role effective July 1.

Nelms first became the superintendent of the organization in 2015. UR says that during his time as the superintendent, he successfully led an educational partnership model between East High School and the university. Before his tenure, UR said that the school was falling into disarray.

“It is my goal now in joining the University of Rochester to establish the University as a leader in community partnership and engagement; to cultivate greater and stronger meaningful relationships in the City of Rochester, across Monroe County, and beyond, said Nelms. “I’m thrilled to support the University’s strategic commitment to furthering the economic, educational, social, and cultural partnerships that build sustained and mutually beneficial engagement and a thriving community for all.”

Now in his new position, Nelms will be tasked with developing a plan to prepare productive collaborations to support the University’s new plan.

“His extraordinary work at East High School and the Warner School of Education has inspired us to think more broadly about the role innovative partnerships can play at the University level,” said Mangelsdorf. “If we are to have the greatest impact we can—in Rochester and around the world—we must work together with other academic institutions, with community organizations, and the corporate sector in a more strategic and organized way.”

In Nelms’s place, East EPO’s Upper High School Principal Marlene Blocker will serve as the second superintendent of the organization.

“Marlene has served this community for over 30 years and has a proven track record of success,” said Nelms.  “She is integral in leading and supporting the school transformation process at East. Under her leadership, East has become a beacon of hope in Rochester, and this work would not have been done without Marlene’s focus on obtaining results through systems of collaboration and results-driven accountability.

Blocker will also assume her new position on the same day as Nelms — July 1, 2023.