PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Special Olympics Rhode Island has officially chosen its next CEO.

Edwin “Ed” Pacheco has been tapped to succeed longtime president Dennis DeJesus, who is retiring in July.

Staci Kolb, chairperson for Special Olympics Rhode Island’s Board of Directors, said the decision was made after a nationwide search.

“Ed brings a vast amount of experience in nonprofit and higher education leadership as well as a passion to bring joy to others,” Kolb said. “His enthusiasm for our athletes and families is needed now more than ever as we continue to emerge from the pandemic and increase support for our organization. We are very excited to have him lead the organization.”

Pacheco is the fifth person to lead the organization, which provides more than 1,400 year-round sports training and athletic competition opportunities to more than 4,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

“I’m excited to carry on the amazing work that Dennis DeJesus and Special Olympics are doing here in Rhode Island,” Pacheco said. “This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work for a mission-driven organization that has done so much good for the community. I’m humbled to be selected as the next leader of Special Olympics Rhode Island to serve and support individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families.”

The organization said Pacheco is a native Rhode Islander who has experience working with nonprofits and in higher education, including stints at Meeting Street and Rhode Island College.

He also served as a state representative for Burrillville-Glocester from 2005 to 2011 and is a former member of the Burrillville School Committee.

Pacheco officially began his tenure as CEO on May 16. He was campaigning as a Democrat for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat until he dropped out of the race back in March.