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Rob Blevins says he'll continue to lead the Discovery Center while serving as COO of the Yass Prize.
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Rob Blevins says he'll continue to lead the Discovery Center while serving as COO of the Yass Prize.

Discovery Center CEO takes on national role

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The leader of the Discovery Center of Springfield Inc. is taking on a national role at an organization that awarded the Springfield nonprofit a $1 million prize two years ago.

Rob Blevins, the nearly six-year leader of the Discovery Center, said he has started as chief operating officer of the Yass Prize. The organization behind the prize, the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Education Reform, announced the hiring in a news release this morning.

Blevins said he would continue to lead the Discovery Center while serving as COO of the Yass Prize, which honors and works to expand education providers that assist underserved students. Cathleen Healy, a spokesperson for the Center for Education Reform, said Blevins' Yass Prize role is a full-time job.

"I'm still going to live in Springfield. I'm just working with a national organization now," he said, noting as COO of the Yass Prize, he would be involved in operations, policies, procedures and financials. "I'm excited to get to be part it at this level."

The Discovery Center in July made Blevins' title CEO – he previously was executive director – as part of a reorganization he said was in the works for over a year. At that time, Blevins said Jackie Douglas was promoted to chief learning officer from director of education and Tyler Moles was promoted to COO from vice president of operations.

At the Yass Prize, Blevins said he would conduct his duties through a blended format involving virtual and in-person work.

"It's going to be a fun experience, for sure," he said.

The Discovery Center in December 2021 received the $1 million Yass Prize for its education work during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to past reporting. Forbes partnered with the Center for Education Reform on the award.

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