Cincinnati Public Schools regrets to announce the passing of Alton Chris Nelms, who has served on the Cincinnati Board of Education since 2007 and has been a tireless advocate for students and families.
Mr. Nelms not only was a Board of Education member, but he also graduated from Taft High School and served the district for 25 years as a teacher, prevention specialist, head baseball coach and athletic director. He was employed as a prevention educator for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
“Chris was a champion of equity,” said Ericka Copeland-Dansby, president of the Cincinnati Board of Education. “He has worked so hard not just within CPS, but also throughout our city to ensure that our students have access to the opportunities they need to be successful. This is a tremendous loss not just for our board, but for our entire community.”
During his years on the Cincinnati Board of Education, Mr. Nelms founded the district’s Athletic Hall of Fame, recognizing top athletes throughout the district’s history. He also helped launch the district’s M.O.R.E. (Men Organized, Respectful and Educated) Program, a leadership development initiative for young men that offers mentoring, enrichment and service-learning opportunities.
Mr. Nelms earned a Doctorate of Education and Master’s in Education from Xavier University. He was a licensed social worker, drug counselor and served as an adjunct instructor at Cincinnati State Technical & Community College, Chatfield College and the University of Cincinnati. He also was a minister and veteran of the United States Navy.
Mr. Nelms was a stellar athlete, having been drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and playing for the team’s farm system. He co-founded the Martin Luther King Holiday Basketball Classic and founded the Reviving Baseball in the Inner City (RBI) program that encourages a love of baseball among young African Americans while providing them with positive life lessons. He also has served the community as a member of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, the NAACP and the Avondale Community Council.
Mr. Nelms leaves behind a tremendous legacy of service to CPS students, families and staff, and will be forever remembered as a staunch proponent of public schools as vital resources in our communities. He will be missed.
Mr. Nelms’ life will be celebrated on Monday, September 25, 2017, at Landmark Christian Church, 1600 Glendale-Milford Road (45246). Visitation begins at 10:00 a.m. and the funeral begins at 12 noon.