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New principals named at East

New Principals Named at East

Shaun Nelms, deputy superintendent of East High School under the new partnership with the University of Rochester, has announced the principal leadership team for East with the selection of two experienced Rochester City School District (RCSD) educators. Marlene Blocker, founding principal of the Rochester Early College International High School, will become East High School’s principal for the Lower School (grades 6-9). Anibal Soler, current principal at East, will assume the position of principal of the Upper School (grades 10-12).

The new 9th grade academy will be supported by both principals in an effort to track and monitor student progress. Both will work directly with Nelms, who will oversee the day-to-day operations of the East High Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) plan, which is focused on preparing all students for a successful transition to adulthood in a supportive, but rigorous academic environment. This EPO leadership team—alongside students, families, teachers, staff, and community members—will support the development of East as a comprehensive community high school where all children are welcome and served—one that will become a model for urban school reform.

“We are excited to build a team that will be responsive to the greater needs of the East community,” said Nelms. “Anibal and Marlene demonstrated throughout the interview process a commitment toward staff development, student achievement, family support, and their own personal growth as leaders.”

Blocker has experience building an engaged school community that supports the unique needs of diverse students and that leads to high graduation rates and college and career readiness.  As founding principal of Rochester Early College International High School, she created a year-round program based on rigor and relationships, with small learning communities and a caring student focus. Blocker was previously principal of Francis Parker School No. 23 from 2002-10, assistant principal of John Walton Spencer School No. 16 from 2001-02, and a teacher and lead teacher/mentor at General Elwell S. Otis School No. 30 from 1988-2001.  She is the 2013 recipient of the James E. Allen Award by the School Administrators Association of New York State and the 2014 Distinguished Educational Leadership Award from St. John Fisher College, from which she received her master’s in educational leadership.  Blocker holds an M.S. in elementary education from SUNY Brockport and a B.A. in early childhood education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Principal of East High School since 2009, Soler has been an invaluable partner in the development of the University of Rochester’s plan for the transformation of East. Soler previously served RCSD as the Academy Director at Charlotte High School from 2006-09, as an instructional technology teacher and project manager for the Department of Instructional Technology from 2003-06, and as an art teacher at Thomas Jefferson Middle School from 2000-03.  Soler was recognized as a White House Champion of Change in 2014 for his work in the Latino community and as a Latino educator. He is a doctoral candidate in educational leadership at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester, and holds an M.S. in educational leadership from St. John Fisher College, an M.S. in educational technology from Nazareth University, and a B.S. in art education from Daemen College.

The University of Rochester assumes full management responsibilities for East on July 1, 2015. Nelms started as deputy superintendent on March 9, 2015, and is currently on site at East overseeing the hiring of all staff.  Entrance to East will be by student choice, giving priority to students living in proximity to the school.