FPEP is housed at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. Over 50 UCF faculty and staff are affiliated with the program.
Keri Watson, Ph.D., is the Director of the Florida Prison Education Project (FPEP) and a faculty member in the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Central Florida. The recipient of four National Endowment for the Arts Big Read grants, an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant, and an Association of American Colleges and Universities Endeavor Foundation grant, Dr. Watson researches art, activism, and high-impact pedagogies, specifically as they relate to prison education. Inspired by her experiences teaching for the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project at Auburn University, she started FPEP to bring educational opportunities to incarcerated people in her home-state of Florida.
Sean Armstrong, Ed.D., is the is the Director of Partnerships for the University of Central Florida and the Coordinator of Services for the Florida Prison Education Project. He oversees FPEP’s Continuing Education program, Transition and Reentry services, and Books Behind Bars and works directly with UCF’s state college partners, DirectConnect™ to UCF, and UCF’s Continuing Education Program to bring educational opportunities to people incarcerated in Central Florida. Dr. Armstrong previously worked with prisoners as part of Sumter County Correction’s Pre-release/transition Program.
Tameca Harris-Jackson, Ph.D., is the Research Coordinator for FPEP, overseeing research on rehabilitation and recidivism. A licensed clinical social worker with over 15-years experience working with youth, adults, and families designated as high-need and high-risk in urban areas, Dr. Harris-Jackson previously engaged in research and provided clinical and educational support services for women in prison in the Baltimore-Metro area. She has also worked as a contractor with the federal government providing consultation services on mental health care needs for families in detention centers.
Terry Ann Thaxton, MFA, is the Academics Coordinator for the Florida Prison Education Project. An award-winning poet and essayist, she has 15+ years-experience teaching marginalized populations, including incarcerated individuals, and published a textbook Creative Writing in the Community: A Guide, as well as articles in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice and Teaching Artist Journal, among others. She oversees the Literary Arts Partnership, Service Learning, and UCF’s Inside-Out Program (forthcoming).
Cynthia Schmidt, J.D., is the Director of UCF’s Center for Law and Policy and the Coordinator of Policy Studies for the Florida Prison Education Project. Ms. Schmidt was a criminal defense attorney for 14 years before joining the faculty at UCF. A past-President of the Orange County Bar Association Foundation, Dr. Schmidt has organized Know Your Rights seminars in Parramore, Holden Heights, and Rosemont, and facilitated Continuing Legal Education seminars for lawyers and students. She is a faculty member with the Department of Legal Studies at UCF.
Are you interested in teaching in an area prison? In order to participate in the Florida Prison Education Project, you need to fill out the Florida Department of Corrections’ volunteer form and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, Sept. 7. This form must be completed before you can attend a training and orientation session. Training will be held on Friday, Sept. 29 from 9:00 a.m. – Noon in VAB 105 (enter through the School of Visual Arts main office VAB 117).