Shaun Nelms, Champion of Equity

From the March/April 2021 issue of Equity & Access Pre K-12

Dr. Shaun Nelms is the Superintendent of Rochester, New York’s East High School. Beginning in 2014, he has led a transformation effort at East HS that started with establishing core values to change how students engaged with one another, as well as establishing a culture and climate of which all stakeholders are aware. When everyone understands the culture, “they call out when actions don’t match the culture they seek to establish,” he says.

“I just want to make sure that there’s someone being a guardian of equity and a champion of equity for those kids, and if I can provide that, then great.” — Shaun Nelms

As a result of culture-first efforts, the school has had a tremendous decrease in suspensions, to go along with equally impressive increases in graduation rate and parent engagement. Shaun and his team also focus on building capacity in others, ensuring opinions are truly valued, giving support so people can take chances without operating in fear, and celebrating their competency daily.

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The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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