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Rochester area educator is top alumnus
Wednesday, March 05, 2008

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Shaun C. Nelms
Shaun C. Nelms

Educator Shaun C. Nelms of Rochester, N.Y., will be honored March 19 as the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by the SUNY Fredonia Educational Development Program (EDP). Mr. Nelms is middle school principal at Burger Middle School in West Henrietta, N.Y. He graduated from SUNY Fredonia in 1999 with a degree in history and New York State certification to teach social studies.

The 26th Annual Awards Ceremony of SUNY Fredonia’s EDP will also include the induction of eight undergraduates into the Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society and the distribution of scholarships and awards to outstanding students currently in the program. The event will be held on Wednesday, March 19, at 4 p.m. in Café G of the Williams Center. 

An alumnus of the Fredonia EDP, Mr. Nelms supervises more than 100 teachers and staff members while also coordinating school district events. He is a frequent presenter at education administration conferences. He earned his master’s degree in education from the University of Rochester and has permanent New York State certification as a school administrator and supervisor.

At the start of his career, Mr. Nelms taught middle school social studies in the Rochester City School district, where he initiated a “Gentlemen’s Club” to help at-risk students with social and behavioral needs. He was later appointed assistant principal and is now a middle school principal in the Rush-Henrietta school district.

EDP Interim Director Janet Knapp noted that, as an entering college student, Mr. Nelms applied to SUNY Fredonia’s EDP expressing his desire to make a difference in his community. He stated, “This program will allow me to put all road blocks aside and go on in life where I can be an asset in solving problems.” A native of Buffalo, N.Y., his motivation was evident during high school, when he worked as a kitchen assistant and pool guard at Cradle Beach Camp, helping physically and financially handicapped children. This experience inspired his career goals. He noted, “Helping others is important in growing. Having abilities and not sharing them with others is a waste of talent.”

As a student in college at SUNY Fredonia, Mr. Nelms showed leadership as a Resident Assistant for two years, and as a member of the men’s basketball team, where he later was hired as an assistant varsity coach.

As part of the state-wide Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), SUNY Fredonia’s EDP provides academic support services for underprepared and financially disadvantaged students.

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