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We equip educators to help English learners succeed.

English Learners Success Forum

About Us

The English Learners Success Forum (ELSF) connects high-quality content developers with English learner experts to enhance instructional materials to address the linguistic and cultural needs of English learners. ELSF believes quality teaching paired with effective instructional guidance is critical to the academic success of English learners.
Teachers Lack Language-Focused Training and Tools

The Challenge

Too Few
are Certified
Only 20% of public school teachers are certified to teach the 4.6 million English learner students in public schools.*
Too Few Get Language-Focused Training and Tools
Only 24% of K-12 teachers reported receiving English learner-focused professional development over the last three years.*
Most Material Lacks Language Supports
Effective language development instruction is largely absent in ELA and math instructional materials for teachers. 
Growing EL Population’s Academic Needs Unmet
As the English learner student population continues to grow, most teachers have or can expect to have an English learner student in their classroom.
*Source: 2011-2012 School and Staffing Survey.
Equipping Educators to Help EL Students Succeed

Our Approach

ELSF collaborates with field-leading researchers, district leaders, teachers, content creators, and education funders to improve the supply and accessibility of high-quality K-12 ELA and mathematics instructional materials that are inclusive of English learner students. In February 2017, ELSF brought together voices across the education spectrum to solidify our vision and mission for this work. Two areas of focus for ELSF were identified:
Content Developers
We work directly with motivated ELA and math standards-aligned content developers to integrate English learner supports throughout their materials and build overall capacity to consistently integrate English learner strategies and best practices. If you are a content developer, get started by asking: “How Well Do my ELA or Math Instructional Materials Support English Learners?”
We simultaneously build out resources and tools for the field that help all developers of content, including teachers, consider the needs of English learners. Do you know if your instructional materials and teaching practices are working for your EL students? Take a pulse check to get started.
A Collaboration of Researchers, Teachers, District Leaders & Funders

Who We Are


Crystal Gonzales

Executive Director

Crystal Gonzales is the Executive Director of the ELSF where she collaborates with national experts, organizations, educators and content developers to increase the supply of quality of K-12 instructional materials that meet the needs of the growing EL population. Previously, as a program officer at the Helmsley Charitable Trust, she collaborated with national K-12 organizations with a focus on teacher professional development, quality instructional materials, and advocacy for underserved communities. In this role, she worked with EL experts to elevate the needs of ELs among grantees and her grantmaking peers. Crystal began her career as a 4th grade bilingual teacher in Houston ISD. She is currently a member of Education Leaders of Color, Latinos for Education, and is a Pahara NextGen fellow. Crystal holds a master’s in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from the University of New Mexico. She is a proud native New Mexican and currently resides in NYC.

Renae Skarin

Director, Curriculum Review Process

Renae Skarin is the Director of Curriculum Review Process where she works with leading educational experts to design and implement a process for reviewing and providing feedback to curriculum developers on the strength of supports for ELs. Prior to joining the ELSF, she worked at Understanding Language, Stanford University, where she was a researcher, professional developer, curriculum developer, and project manager for projects specializing in issues of equity and accessibility for diverse learners and has a strong background in second language teaching and teacher education both in the U.S. and abroad. Renae received a B.A. in English, Literacy Studies from California State University, Long Beach and an M.A. in Second Language Studies at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation in Educational Linguistics at Stanford University. Renae lives at home with her 15-year-old activist daughter, Kailani and her sweet dog Stella.

Keaton Lora

Project Coordinator

Keaton Lora is a Project Coordinator for the ELSF, where he facilitates the work of our curriculum review teams and Directors in evaluating and improving curricular materials to support ELs. Prior to joining the ELSF, he served as an Academic Advisor at Florida International University in Miami, where he provided academic guidance to students pursuing undergraduate degrees in English, History, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Modern Languages, and Religious Studies. Keaton received his B.A. in English and History from Georgetown University and his M.A. in English Literature from King’s College London. A native of Massachusetts, Keaton was raised in Connecticut and Florida, and lives in New York City. He is probably watching the NBA on mute right now and reading Wikipedia during the commercials.


Mary Blanusa

Senior Director, America Achieves

Rachel Leifer

Senior Program Officer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Delia Pompa

Senior Fellow for Education Policy, Migration Policy Institute

Judy Wurtzel

Director, Education, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation


Farah Assiraj

Director of Organizing, Boston Teachers Union; Founder, Peregrinum

Melissa Chabran

Associate, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Lily Wong Fillmore

Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

Angelica Infante-Green

Deputy Commissioner, New York State Department of Education

Meredith Liben

Director of Literacy and English Language Arts, Student Achievement Partners

Maria Witrado-Maldonado

Assistant Superintendent, Fresno Unified School District

Margarita Pinkos

Executive Director, The School District of Palm Beach County

Liisa Potts

Director of English Language Arts Materials Review,

Maria Santos

Engagement Director for School and District Services, WestEd

Gabriela Uro

Director of ELL Policy and Research, Council of the Great City Schools

Join us in our mission. Become part of our team.


ELSF is passionate about improving the quality and accessibility of instructional materials for English learners (ELs). We’re looking for ELA and mathematics content developers and EL experts and specialists to join our efforts in ensuring materials are inclusive of the needs of ELs.
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