By Theresa Harrington
Outgoing state Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, who will be sworn in as State Superintendent of Public Instruction on Monday, has announced the formation of a transition advisory team that includes three East Bay educators.
The team, which will provide strategic advice to Torlakson during his first few months in office, includes Mt. Diablo High School vice principal and teacher Liane Cismowski, Antioch Superintendent Donald Gill, and Tim Sbranti, who is Mayor of Dublin and teaches at Dublin High School.
Torlakson expects team members to help him identify and set goals to address key issues that affect students, schools, districts, and the California Department of Education. He has named Linda Darling Hammond and David Rattray as co-chairs of the team.
Darling Hammond is the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University. Rattray is senior vice president of Education & Workforce Development for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and President of UNITE LA.
“I am delighted Linda and David have agreed to lead my Transition Advisory Team during this extremely challenging time, and that so many outstanding teachers and other stakeholders have come forward to be part of this team,” Torlakson said in a prepared statement. “I know their comprehensive knowledge of the issues facing our students and schools will be enormously valuable as we work to chart the best course for California’s schools.”
He expects his team members to join working groups to discuss key issues, such as:
- School finance reform and funding
- Curriculum and assessment
- Accountability and data
- Educator preparation and evaluation
- Early childhood learning
- Education supports for the whole child
- Secondary transformation (including linked learning, career technical education and A-G guidelines)
- Flexibility and efficiency initiatives, school facilities/construction reform and modernization.
Here’s the complete list of team members in alphabetical order by last name:
Catherine Atkin, President, Preschool California
William Barr, Lecturer, University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Education; former Monterey County Superintendent of Schools
Cruz Bustamante, Former Lt. Governor, State of California
Dennis Cima, Senior Vice President, Education & Public Policy, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Liane Cismowski, Vice Principal and Teacher, Mt. Diablo High School, Concord
Yvonne de la Peña, Program Director, California Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee
Cesar Diaz, Legislative Director, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California
Jim Dierke, Principal, Visitacion Valley Middle School, San Francisco Unified School District
Linda Galliher Vice President, Education and Healthcare, Bay Area Council
Patricia Gándara, Professor, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences and Co-Director, UCLA Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles
Abigail Garcia, Teacher, Animo Leadership Charter High School, Inglewood
Donald Gill, Superintendent, Antioch Unified School District
Jay Hansen, Chief Strategy Officer, California Medical Association
Marty Hittelman, President, California Federation of Teachers
Adam Hodess, Commissioner, California Apprenticeship Council, Division of Apprenticeship Standards. Business Manager, UA Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 159
Mat Holton, Superintendent, Chaffey Joint Union High School District in Southern California
Richard Jackson, Professor, UCLA School of Public Health and former California State Public Health Officer
Ann Johnston, Mayor of Stockton
Maureen Kindel, Chair of the Board of Visitors, Loyola Marymount University School of Education
Diane Levitt, Executive Director, Safe Cities Foundation
Ted Lempert, President, Children Now
Bill Lloyd, President, SEIU California State Council
Dave Long, Former California Secretary of Education
Sonia Martin-Solis, Teacher, Hillcrest Drive Elementary School, Los Angeles Unified School District
Charles McMinn, Co-Founder and Former CEO, Covad Communications
Hydra Mendoza, School Board Member, San Francisco Unified School District
Molly Munger, Co-Director, Advancement Project Los Angeles
Barbara Nemko, Superintendent of Schools, Napa County
Jeff Patterson, Teacher, Antelope Valley High School
Jennifer Peck, Executive Director, Partnership for Children and Youth
Willie Pelote, Assistant Director, Political Action Department, AFSCME International
Jose Pérez, Chair, California Utilities Diversity Council and Publisher, Latino Journal
Chet Pipkin, Chairman of the Board, Belkin International, Inc.
James Ramos, Chairman, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and Board Member, San Bernardino Community College District
Diana Rodriguez, Board Member, Sacramento City Unified School District
Alex Rooker, Government Affairs Director, Communications Workers of America Local 9400
Russ Rumberger, Vice Provost for Education Partnerships at the UC Office of the President
David Sanchez, President, California Teachers Association (CTA)
Tim Sbranti, Mayor, City of Dublin and Teacher, Dublin High School
Barry Schuler, Former Chairman and CEO, America Online
Jack Scott, Chancellor, California Community Colleges
Gregg Solkovits, Secondary Vice President, United Teachers of Los Angeles
Suzan Solomon, Board Member, Newhall School District and Vice President for Education, California State PTA
Jai Sookprasert, Assistant Director, Governmental Relations, California School Employees Association (CSEA)
Chris Steinhauser, Superintendent, Long Beach Unified School District
Lillian Taiz, Professor of History at CSU Los Angeles and President of the California Faculty Association
Diane Watson, Member of Congress, California’s 33rd District
Carl Wong, Superintendent of Schools, Sonoma County
Kristin Wright, Chair, California Advisory Commission on Special Education
Antronette Yancey, Professor, UCLA School of Public Health
Torlakson will be sworn into office by Barbara Nemko, Ph.D., Superintendent of the Napa County Office of Education. The inauguration will take place at 9 a.m. Monday at Mt. Diablo High School in Concord — where he last taught science, math and world history.
Later in the day, Torlakson will host a reception from 3-5 p.m. in the lobby of the California Department of Education in Sacramento.
Both events are open to the public. RSVPs may be made by e-mailing email@example.com or calling 925-682-9998.
Torlakson remains a teacher-on-leave with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joe Ovick — along with all but seven district superintendents in the county – supported Torlakson’s opponent, Larry Aceves, in the November election.
Gill and Mt. Diablo district Superintendent Steven Lawrence were among those who did not support Aceves. Torlakson beat Aceves with about 55 percent of the vote.
Do you think Torlakson’s Mt. Diablo school district roots will help Contra Costa County schools?