LeChase Hall Rendering
Shaun Nelms ’04W (MS)
Warner School Doctoral Student
Chief of Schools, Northeast Zone, Rochester City School District


Good morning Warner faculty, staff, students and guests. I have the pleasure of speaking from three perspectives – first, as a 2004 Warner master’s graduate, as a current doctoral student, and as an adjunct professor with Dr. Stephen Uebbing.

In my 10 plus years of being affiliated with the Warner School, it has been evident that the University of Rochester is committed to fulfilling the promise of University’s motto, Meliora. To make better implies committing one’s self to constant improvement, refusing to rest on success. The faculty and staff at the Warner School have been extremely supportive and encouraging as I work towards accomplishing my personal and professional goals.

As a representative of the Rochester City School District, under the leadership of Jean-Claude Brizard, our strategic plan is narrowly focused on preparing students, teachers, leaders and community members to concentrate on being better.

We must continue to measure our success by the number of students who leave our schools… college and career ready. Recent data suggests that only 5% of students who attend Rochester City Schools are college ready, but that tells only part of the story.

For our students who graduate and go on to college, over 70% are persisting. Meaning, they stay committed to their academic journey beyond the first year. I want to openly celebrate the students, teachers and families who are proud to say they benefited from an urban education in THIS community. But by no means does this infer that our work is done. In fact, it defines the opportunities before us.

What we need in education is for universities to provide research-based insights into pedagogy and practice, prepare future teachers and administrators for the rigors of education, and to serve as pioneers for social justice. This is what the University of Rochester represents to me, in both theory and practice.

The development of LeChase Hall has the potential to serve as the epicenter of change for Warner students, staff and the greater Rochester community. Having a community of dedicated individuals will reinforce our efforts to be partners in thought, practice and research. With the new facility, Warner can continue to embody it’s motto of Meliora by ensuring Every child, in every classroom, every day, receives an experience which prepares them for a lifetime of success.

Thank you and I look forward to the University of Rochester and the Rochester City School District being pioneers in providing equity and access to the students we serve.