About Us

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit on a mission to scale English literacy so that every child has access to the educational and economic opportunities it unlocks.

Our Mission

Knowledge of English has emerged as the key to educational and economic opportunities in the global economy, but 100s of millions of children are being left behind.

In California, one in five schoolchildren is an “English Language Learner (ELL)”. In the US, one in ten schoolchildren is an ELL. Their initial struggles with English at school often translate to long-term disadvantage not just in English, but also in science and mathematics. In remote and poor regions in developing nations, the situation is far worse: the odds are stacked against children making their way up the economic ladder without access to qualified teachers.

The global reach of the Internet and of low-cost mobile devices means that we now have a real shot at helping these children. We believe that digital content that brings these children from “zero to reading” can provide that crucial missing first step in their educational journey.

Our Approach

Even in the most remote areas, digital content can now be deployed via low-cost mobile devices “offline,” without requiring continuous Internet connectivity. Our content is designed for seamless scaling worldwide: we do not require prior exposure to English, knowledge of any other language, or supervision by skilled adults. Our immersive digital content is designed for personalized guided learning, presented within an engaging framework that relies heavily on imagery and audio. It is based on instructional second language acquisition research, targeting the fundamental skills required for literacy.

Our Team

Our team includes seasoned educators, authors, animators, established graphic artists, and engineers. A unique strength is our connection with two premier research universities, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), with the close involvement of faculty with expertise spanning second language acquisition, education, engineering, and machine learning.

Prof. Upamanyu Madhow

Madhow, a faculty member in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the University of California (UC), Santa Barbara, has made pioneering and highly cited contributions to wireless and Internet technology. As a co-founder of GLEN World, he is involved in strategy, fundraising and content creation, drawing on his technological and entrepreneurial background.

Dr. Sumit Singh

Member of the Board
Sumit works as a Product Manager for Google Cloud. He received his master's and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UC Santa Barbara. He was a Katherine Harvey Fellow (KHF'2020) and serves as a member of the KHF Leadership Council. Sumit is a co-founder of GLEN World. He coordinates content design, software development, outreach and operations.

Prof. Emeritus Michael Furlong

Member of the Board
Michael is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of School Psychology and Research Professor at UC Santa Barbara. He is a co-editor of Handbook of Positive Psychology in Schools, and an associate editor of Educational and Developmental Psychology. He is the director of Project Covitality, which supports schools’ efforts to foster all students’ social-emotional development. He helps with strategy and deployments.

Donna Barranco Fisher

Member of the Board
Donna has a wealth of experience in non-profit organization building, operations, governance, and a background in Early Childhood Education. She has served as the Executive Director for Storyteller Children's Center in Santa Barbara, and on the boards of organizations such as CALM, Girls Inc., Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Hospice of SB, and Jodi House. Donna helps with strategy, partnerships and fundraising.

Sanjay Srivastava

Member of the Board
Sanjay has created multiple successful companies spanning ed-tech, electronic design automation and storage technology. He is the CEO of Vocareum, a cloud platform built to improve efficiency and learning outcomes of coding classes. Sanjay co-founded and led Denali Software until its merger with Cadence Design Systems in 2010. He was the lead investor of NVELO, a storage software startup acquired by Samsung. Sanjay helps with strategy and fundraising.

Alexander Sokoloff

Creative Director
Alexander is a writer, director and animator who has worked on a number of high-profile Hollywood films, and has an extensive portfolio that ranges from the development and production of animated content to character animation, cinematics and previsualization for feature films, ride films, video games and commercials. Alexander leads the effort on creating visual content.

Prof. Rémi Adam van Compernolle

Content Design
Adam is an Associate Professor of Second Language Acquisition & French and Francophone Studies in the Department of Modern Languages at Carnegie Mellon University. Adam's primary research interests center around second language acquisition (SLA), pedagogy, and assessment. He is involved in content design.

Prof. Matt Quirk

School-Based Research and Evaluation
Matt is a faculty member in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UCSB and directs the Center for School Based Youth Development. His research focuses on children’s early language and literacy development, particularly amongst Spanish-speaking dual language learners. Matt facilitates implementation and assessment in school-based settings.

Jason Horsley

Lead, Software Development
Jason works as a Senior Software Engineer for Atlassian. He holds a Bachelors in Computer Engineering from UC Santa Barbara. Jason leads software development for GLEN World apps and platform software.

Dr. Sriram Venkateswaran

Content Development
Sriram works at Apple. He holds an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and a Ph. D. degree from UC Santa Barbara. Sriram is involved in content development.

Brian Sandler

Software Development
Brian is a software engineer at Plato Systems. He has a masters from Penn State University and a bachelors from UC Santa Barbara. He is involved in app software and platform development.

Susan Srikant

Content (stories / rhymes)
Susan is the author of the Showbiz Series, a group of plays for elementary aged kids to perform. She has also written several middle grade novels. Susan has authored many stories and rhymes for GLEN World.

Michele Moreno

Voice-over / narration
Michele is an actress and singer with roles in NBC’s Parenthood and ABC’s Boston Legal. Founder of kids’ music project Birdie’s Playhouse. She provides the voice for GLEN World English content.

Norma Raggi

Narration / stories (Spanish)
Norma is a writer and translator who splits her time between California and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her short stories have received awards from literary organizations in Argentina such as El rincón de la Cultura and Academia Nacional de Letras. Musicalizations of her poems have been performed in the Golden Hall of the Colón Theater in Buenos Aires.

Rhys Muirhead

Rhys (Ronald William TZ Maximus) Muirhead is a graphic artist who works mainly with digital design, but also enoys working in photography and more analogue mediums such as charcoal and pencil. Rhys has studied Fine Arts at the University of Newcastle, Australia, and is the founder of AndSuns Organic Apparel.

Ruy Folguera

Art Direction (audio content)
Ruy is a Los Angeles based composer whose scores can be heard on a diverse array of films such as Rush Hour I, II & III, Picking Up the Pieces, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Nina, and many more. As a producer, performer and arranger, Ruy has worked with luminaries of the music scene, including David Coverdale, Mike Patton, Roberta Flack, Chaka Khan, Colin Hay, Engelbert Humperdink, Neal Schon and Japanʼs Yazawa.

Marko Rop

Marko Rop is a freelancer artist, born in 1983 in Slovenia. He studied stage design in Vienna and Prague. Marko does most of his professional work as an illustrator, although his background and experience span other art mediums including writing and theater.

Interested in joining the team? Please check current opportunities and reach out!

Our Partners & Friends

Isla Vista Youth Projects, Goleta, California
Storyteller Children's Center, Santa Barbara, California
EkStep Foundation, India
Hack4Impact UIUC, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of California, Santa Barbara
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Our Supporters

The Srivastava Foundation (Seed funding)
Legal Partners
Incessant Rain Studios (IRAS), Inc: Custom Animations
Google for Nonprofits (software tools)
GitHub (nonprofit org account)
Slack (nonprofit org workspace)

Would you consider a gift to help scale early literacy?