October 20, 2021

Goucher Prison Education Partnership Update

Eliza Cornejo '17 to serve as acting executive director of the Goucher Prison Education Partnership.

Dear Goucher Community,

As I announced previously to our community in August of this year, after a decade of exemplary leadership, Amy Roza will be departing from her role as founding Executive Director of the Goucher Prison Education Partnership (GPEP) at the beginning of November. While the Goucher community is sad to see her move on, we are grateful for the incredible foundation her work and many accomplishments have provided to ensure that GPEP continues to thrive in future years.

The Goucher Prison Education Partnership offers individuals incarcerated in Maryland the opportunity to pursue an outstanding Goucher College education including attainment of a bachelor’s degree. Amy has led and mobilized hundreds of stakeholders, including students, faculty, volunteers, prison partners, supporters, and GPEP staff, to ensure GPEP’s success. Together they have offered over two hundred classes onsite at the prisons where GPEP operates, collaborated to ensure a rigorous college education for all Goucher students, and secured the diverse resources needed for students’ success — from college preparatory courses to books and calculators to skilled tutors and in-person office hours with professors and academic advisors.

Since the initiative launched in 2012, Amy’s dedication and unrelenting spirit created and nurtured GPEP from the ground up. Her undaunted determination has made it possible for hundreds of Goucher students to transform their lives, and she has brought a profound respect, understanding, and spirit of partnership to the philanthropic, academic, and professional communities within which GPEP operates.

Amy’s work has also helped to shape the national conversation around access to education, poverty, mass incarceration, and how we view college education in prison initiatives nationwide. GPEP is increasingly recognized as a national model and has garnered praise and visits from regional and national stakeholders as well as coverage from media outlets such as the PBS NewsHour and The New York Times.

As Amy has said, “Meaningful education in prison is an incredibly powerful way to partner with adults in disrupting cycles of poverty. We fail when we imagine that for our most vulnerable students a GED and a paycheck-to-paycheck job would be sufficient.”

Goucher College is deeply committed to the ethos and good work of the Goucher Prison Education Partnership and will continue to invest in its future. I know I speak on behalf of the entire Goucher community — students, faculty, staff, trustees, and alums — when I say Goucher remains dedicated to the success of GPEP and our collective mission. To our partners in the philanthropic community, we thank you for your advocacy and support, and reaffirm our commitment to working with you to ensure GPEP’s success.

Finding a new leader who has the passion, enthusiasm, and drive to ensure that GPEP continues to thrive and grow will be no easy task. Our new executive director will have big shoes to fill. To ensure that we obtain the best possible pool of candidates for this position, we have selected the nationally recognized search firm Isaacson Miller to lead our search for a new executive director and have convened an internal search committee comprising Goucher faculty, staff, and GPEP alumni, now leaders in access to education themselves.

While our search for a new executive director proceeds, we have selected Eliza Cornejo to serve as acting executive director. Eliza has been working full-time with GPEP for several years starting first as a Goucher alumna volunteer way back in 2014. We have full confidence in her ability to manage and sustain the program until a new executive director is identified.

Please join me in thanking Amy for her incredible work in creating and sustaining GPEP over the past ten years. We wish her well in her next endeavor. We also look forward to the next exciting chapter in the history of the Goucher Prison Education Partnership as we continue to innovate and expand in the years ahead.

All my best,

Kent Devereaux, President