Passing the Torch

Global Playground is thrilled to announce that Kendall Lorenzen, Global Playground’s first Global Fellow and former Deputy Executive Director, has been promoted to Executive Director and has joined Global Playground’s Board of Directors.

In August 2015, Ms. Lorenzen became Global Playground’s Global Fellow. As Global Fellow, she spent considerable time at each of Global Playground’s project sites in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Kenya, Uganda, and Honduras.  Halfway through her fellowship, in August 2016, the Board of Directors promoted Ms. Lorenzen to Deputy Executive Director. While on the ground, she expanded cross-cultural dialogue efforts through the creation of initiatives such as the Art Exchange, 100,000 Acts of Kindness, and community specific engagement plans. As of July 1st, Ms. Lorenzen has been promoted to Executive Director.

As the Executive Director of Global Playground, Ms. Lorenzen will maintain regular contact with partner NGOs, write proposals for future projects, manage the operations of Global Playground, and manage the Fellows program, interns, and volunteers.

Ms. Lorenzen’s goals for the next year include: continuing to add Global Playground’s existing cross-cultural curriculum to an online database, developing a monitoring and evaluation system for Global Playground to better track its impact, successfully completing the technology center and library project at Siana Girls’ High School in Kenya, initiating the Global Ambassadors program which will connect education leaders all over the world, working with the Board of Directors to establish Global Playground’s first partnership in West Africa, and expanding fundraising efforts.

When asked about the highlights of her time with Global Playground, Ms. Lorenzen said, “My time with Global Playground has been filled with transitions, and I’m thrilled to make this transition now to a new role within Global Playground.  I was fortunate to learn every day from the students, teachers, school directors, partner organizations, Global Playground volunteers, Board Members, and Fellows over the past two years.  I’m a small piece of the puzzle.  Our Global Playground communities are spectacular and it is a privilege to work with and for them.  They are my family.  I have been gradually adding on administrative duties for Global Playground, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Global Playground, its committed volunteers, and its communities can accomplish together in the future.”

In August 2017, Ms. Lorenzen will begin an AmeriCorps term as a K-3 Reading Tutor for Literacy Lab in Washington, D.C. While Ms. Lorenzen will be balancing her part-time role as Global Playground’s Executive Director with her AmeriCorps duties, she looks forward to seeing how the skills she develops in both roles help her to be more effective.

Edward Branagan, who has held the role of Executive Director and Vice Chair since Global Playground’s inception eleven years ago, will continue supporting Global Playground in the future as a member of Global Playground’s Board of Directors and as Global Playground’s Vice Chair.  Global Playground is extraordinarily grateful for Mr. Branagan’s contributions to Global Playground. Mr. Branagan shaped the organization in immeasurable ways.

Edward on a recent project exploration trip in Sierra Leone.


When asked what he most enjoyed about his role as Executive Director, Mr. Branagan said, “It is working with these communities. Being on the ground and seeing these NGOs and communities in action, you realize we are just a small piece of this development process. We are an important piece.  We provide the funding and the cross-cultural exchange, but we rely on the NGOs and communities to determine their educational future.”  He also shared, “When you work with the right partners and the right communities they inspire us. What we do is possible because of them.”

Global Playground also thanks and sadly bids farewell to Emmy Levens, whose term as a Board member expired on July 1, 2017.  Mrs. Levens’ leadership on the Board of Directors is greatly appreciated.  She has served as an advocate for Global Playground in her personal and professional life.  Current Cambodia Teaching Fellow Gabi Ross first learned about Global Playground through a conversation with Ms. Levens.  Global Playground thanks Mrs. Levens for her service and hopes to continue their relationship in new capacities in the future.

Hannah Bunting