GLEN World welcomes two new board members: Donna Barranco Fisher and Michael Furlong

Donna Barranco Fisher
Prof. Emeritus Mike Furlong

GLEN (GLobal ENglish) World is excited to announce that Donna Barranco Fisher and Prof. Emeritus Mike Furlong have joined our board to help us take the next step in our journey.

Donna and Mike are joining our board at a pivotal moment. We are embarking on a multi-year strategic plan focusing on school readiness for young English Learners, with the goal of scaling our impact first locally in Santa Barbara County and the rest of California, and then nationwide and internationally. Donna and Mike bring exactly the kind of leadership, expertise, and experience required to build a lean and agile organization, and put in place the critical partnerships needed to execute our strategic plan.

Donna has a wealth of experience in non-profit organization building, operations, governance, and a deep background in Early Childhood Education. She has had an amazing impact in the Santa Barbara community, having served as the Executive Director for Storyteller Children’s Center, and on the boards of organizations such as CALM, Girls Inc., Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Hospice of SB, Transition House, Jodi House, and Casa Pacifica. Her commitment to the welfare and education of our young children is evident in her continuing involvement in Children and Family Resource Services as a board member, and in her active participation in organizations such as the Santa Barbara County Child Care Planning Council, Early Childhood and Family Wellness Coalition, and Quality Counts California

Dr. Sumit Singh, GLEN World’s co-founder and board member, said, “We are thrilled to have Donna join our board. Donna has been working with us closely since 2020 and has helped us flesh out our strategic plan and expand our partnerships. Donna and I connected over our association with Leading from Within – Donna attended their Courage to Lead program and I was a Katherine Harvey Fellow. Donna’s deep commitment, contributions, and connections within the community are terrific assets for our board.” “I am honored to join the GLEN World board. English literacy has always been important throughout my professional career. I feel that every child should have early opportunities to gain English literacy. GLEN World provides those early opportunities for all children, to ensure success throughout their lives,” said Donna.

Mike is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Research Professor at UCSB’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. He has a lifetime of research and field experience in the education of children and youth and has deep roots in our local school system. He was co-creator of Kindergarten Student Entrance Profile (KSEP), a de facto standard for assessing school readiness. Mike’s work on fostering our children’s well-being takes academic research into the real world. He co-edited the Handbook of Positive Psychology in Schools (2009, 2014, 2021) and has authored and edited many research papers on the subject. He is mapping his ideas to practice through Project Covitality, which supports schools in fostering the socio-emotional development of their students.

Mike’s association with GLEN World goes back several years. He provided critical guidance regarding the content design and pilot deployments towards our goal of helping young English Learners get ready for Kindergarten. “I am so excited to support GLEN World’s much-needed efforts supporting the growth of preschool children’s foundational language and literacy skills that are so vital to their life-long academic and life success,” said Mike.  

Professor Upamanyu Madhow, GLEN World’s co-founder and President, said, “At GLEN World, we have spent the last eight years researching and testing digital content helping children get from “zero to reading.” Donna and Mike join us as we are about to release GLEN Learn, an app for personalized learning aligned with school readiness standards such as KSEP and DRDP, as iOS and Android mobile apps.  They are passionate advocates of our vision that every child gets to school ready to learn, and with their help, we are building partnerships to make sure our work reaches the children in our community who need a helping hand at the very beginning of their academic journey.”

Founded in 2012, GLEN World is on a mission to bridge the opportunity divide by scaling early English literacy. The GLEN Learn app is designed for self-paced, personalized learning targeting early English literacy and school readiness.