Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Reading Association.
The association is a nonprofit global network of about 90,000 professionals dedicated to advancing the quality of literacy instruction and research worldwide.
Fisher is the third SDSU faculty member to become a board member, after James Flood and Joan Curry, both former professors in the Department of Teacher Education.
The author of several books on literacy and literacy education, Fisher has three degrees from SDSU, including a Master’s in Public Health and a Ph.D. in multicultural education. He is also a teacher and administrator at Health Sciences High & Middle College in San Diego.
For the last five years, Fisher has worked with Chula Vista Elementary School District and its assistant superintendent for instruction services to build what he calls a “literate community” in the district.
“Research and writing on system-wide literacy is a new field,” Fisher said. “We look to principals and superintendents to bring schools and districts together around literacy.”
Deciphering difficult texts
Fisher is also co-editor of the “Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts” (3rd ed.), and the author of “Text Complexity: Raising Rigor in Reading,” with Nancy Frey and Diane Lapp. The book analyzes the elements that make a text difficult to read and offers advice on teaching difficult texts.
In 2011, Fisher’s book, “Implementing RTI with English Learners,” won the innovation award from the Academy of Educational Publishers.
City Heights pioneer
Fisher joined SDSU in 1998 as a professor of language and literacy education in the Department of Teacher Education. Soon afterward he became director of professional development for the City Heights Educational Pilot (later the City Heights Educational Collaborative), an initiative funded by philanthropists Sol and Robert Price.
Through the pilot, SDSU created the educational equivalent of a teaching hospital, assuming the day-to-day management of three schools in the economically disadvantaged City Heights neighborhood. Fisher’s eight years with the collaborative was a time of increased student achievement in these schools.