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About Us

History and Mission

The idea for organizing developmental educators around the State of Florida began with Reginald Touchton of then Florida Junior College at Jacksonville. In the spring of 1977, he met with a group of other teachers and administrators involved with developmental courses, all of whom were interested in forming a state-wide grassroots group to help faculty, counselors and learning lab staff share information, ideas and success stories. Administrators were invited to provide an insight into the larger political, fiscal and structural issues associated with developmental education. Based on this perceived interest in establishing a formal group, an Executive Board of volunteers was established to plan a state-wide conference. Members of that initial planning board were as following:

  • Reginald Touchton – President
  • Shelby Lee – Vice-President and Program Chair
  • Elaine Greenwood – Secretary and Site Chair
  • Dora Mae O’Brien – Treasurer

The Division of Community Colleges heard about the organizers and sent Dr. Stafford Thompson, then working for the Division, to meet with the group, to help them form, and to test their reactions to some of the Division’s plans for developmental education efforts. Stafford met with the Executive Committee for several years and was one of the guiding influences in FDEA’s formation.

The first statewide FASS conference was held in March 1978. Annual conventions have been held most every year since, with panel discussions, presentations, and seminars covering topics in reading, English, mathematics, study skills, counseling, and political issues.

During the 26th national conference of the National Association for Developmental Education, held in Louisville, Kentucky in March, 2001, FASS was presented the Curtis Miles Award to an Outstanding Established Chapter. This prestigious award recognized the commitment and involvement of FASS members in local and regional initiatives that serve and benefit college preparatory programs in all of Florida’s community colleges.

Florida Association for Student Success, Inc. is a non-profit corporation (Document #767314) registered in the state of Florida. Our FEI number is 36-4660672.

Purpose of the Florida Association for Student Success

The Florida Association for Student Success is committed to improve the professional capabilities of educators, the programs designed to prepare educators, and the practice, theory, and delivery of education to the students of the State of Florida.

Responsibilities, offices, and organizational structure are detailed in the FASS Handbook*.

* Update in process

FASS goals are to:

  1. Identify practitioners in developmental education through print and electronic directories.

  2. Sponsor an annual conference for sharing effective methods and materials in education.

  3. Maintain a liaison with appropriate state agencies to increase awareness of the significant contributions being made in education programs throughout Florida colleges.

  4. Promote a liaison between secondary and post-secondary institutions to enhance college readiness.

  5. Publish and distribute a newsletter.


Elizabeth Smith


Elizabeth Smith was hired at State College of Florida (formerly Manatee Community College) in 1990 as the Director of the Reading and Writing Center and later became full-time faculty and curriculum coordinator for the Venice campus developmental courses. Elizabeth was part of Project Renaissance at MCC in the early 90s, infusing technology into the classroom. She was the first in the college to teach in a computer networked writing classroom and the first to teach a developmental course online.

During her tenure, she has taught developmental reading and writing, Foundations of Reading Research in SCF’s Educator Preparation Institute, and most recently added English for Academic Purposes reading and writing courses to her course load. Over the last 30 years, Elizabeth has been active in developmental education, presenting at FDEA, NADE, CRLA, FEA, NISOD, League for Innovation, and ILA.  Elizabeth served on the state task force for the PERT revision and in 2012 and 2013 was a key member of the developmental redesign team at SCF. In 2018, Elizabeth was awarded the Outstanding Developmental Educator of the Year award at the annual FDEA conference.   It seems entirely fitting that the latter end of her career is spent as President of FASS, devoted to what she started in 30 years ago, developmental education.

Sharisse Turner


Sharisse Turner, treasurer of FASS, has over 30 years of experience in developmental education at the community college level.  She has taught developmental writing, reading and College Success courses.  She once served as interim director of the Learning Commons at Tallahassee Community College.  Currently, she serves as the dean of the Transitional Studies division at TCC, where she oversees all developmental education and English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

A native North Floridian, Sharisse is a product of Florida’s community college system with an AA degree from Chipola College.  Additionally, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of West Florida and two master’s degrees:  one from Tallahassee Christian College and the other from Walden University.  An ordained minister, Sharisse serves on the ministerial staff at Celebrate New Life Tabernacle Church in Tallahassee.  She and her husband Derald are the proud parents of four children and three grandchildren.  In her spare time, Sharisse enjoys reading, writing and crocheting.

Susan Wessner


Professor Susan Wessner serves as a full-time faculty member for Developmental Mathematics at Tallahassee Community College and has served the College in various ways since 1987. Susan is a graduate of Florida State University, where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Mathematics Education. With over 33 years of teaching, she is passionate about teaching students who need to “brush up” on their math skills before they can tackle college level courses. During her time at TCC, she has served as an adjunct instructor, assistant professor, served on numerous committees, and has been a mentor in four different mentoring programs. Additionally, she wrote/compiled the last two MAT0018 student notebooks for the lower level developmental math classes. She was a NISOD Excellence award winner in 2011, and in 2012, was ranked as the #12 highest rated college professor in the country by the website. Susan won the 2020 FASS Developmental Educator of the Year Award at the FASS Fall Conference. Susan loves teaching math and turning her students into her “Math Nerd Army.”

Jean Marshall


Jean is the recently elected secretary for Florida Association for Student Success (FASS) and a member of (NOSS) National Association for Student Success. She enjoys teaching Developmental Reading at Tallahassee Community College. A lifelong learner, a graduate of Florida Memorial University (BS), and a graduate of North-Central University (M.S), Jean enjoys the opportunity of teaching students in Developmental Reading. In the Developmental classes at the college, students are given maximum opportunities to improve, and to excel in Reading and Writing. The Florida Association for Student Success provides professional opportunities for colleagues from various parts of the state to convene and discuss trends and Professional Development. During her time away from the classroom, she enjoys family outings, fishing, reading, and traveling.

Our Purpose

The Florida Association for Student Success is committed to improve the professional capabilities of educators, the programs designed to prepare educators, and the practice, theory, and delivery of education to the students of the State of Florida.

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