Brews & Views: Saving California’s Education System, tonight


By on Wed, August 31, 2011

  "Saving California's Education System:
A Blueprint for Great Schools"

Free public forum welcomes State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, with moderator Lenny Mendonca of McKinsey & Company


The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company invites the public to participate in a “Back to School” edition of Brews and Views to discuss the direction and future of California’s education system with State Superintendent, Tom Torlakson, who recently submitted the report, A Blueprint for Great Schools.
Torlakson rallied together a Transition Advisory Team of nearly 60 teachers, parents, and community and business leaders to “create a model for the kinds of coalitions necessary to prepare all of California's students to be healthy, productive citizens, and lifelong learners.” On August 9, 2011, Torlakson submitted the report A Blueprint for Great Schools, which includes “a focus on 21st Century learning, meeting the needs of the whole child, and rebuilding the ranks of California’s teachers with resources and respect.” Could this be the solution to our state’s current education crisis? If so, how will the state get the funding to execute this plan when schools are already desperate for money?
Tom Torlakson was elected to a four-year term as California’s 27th State Superintendent of Public Instruction on November 2, 2010. As chief of California’s public school system and leader of the California Department of Education, Superintendent Torlakson applies his experience as a science teacher, high school coach, and state policymaker to fight for our students and improve our state’s public education system. He also played a key role in negotiating and authoring the $9 billion Proposition 1A bond measure in 1998 — which led to public votes supporting over $36 billion in bonds to build new schools and improve existing school buildings.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
6 to 8 p.m.
Mavericks Event Center
107 Broadway Ave., Half Moon Bay

Admission and snacks are complimentary. Beer, wine, and other beverages will be available for sale at the event. Ten percent of the proceeds from all dinner sales at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company for this event will be donated to the Cabrillo Education Foundation.
For More Information:
Call 650-728-2739 or visit           

Speaker Biography:
Torlakson’s journey has led him from the classrooms of Contra Costa County’s Mount Diablo Unified School District (where he remains a teacher-on-leave), to the Antioch City Council, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, and the California State Senate and State Assembly.

During his tenure in the California State Legislature, Torlakson acted to protect education funding, improve student nutrition and physical education, and ensure school safety. He also championed legislation to increase funding for textbooks, computers, and other instructional materials, as well as efforts to close the digital divide, eliminate the achievement gap, and reduce the dropout rate.

In 1998 Torlakson authored legislation leading to the development of the largest system of after-school programs in the nation. In 2006 he authored the bill that led to a 300-percent expansion in these programs—so they now reach 4,000 schools around the state. That year he also authored the Quality Education Improvement Act (SB 1133), which dedicates nearly $3 billion to our lowest-performing schools.

As the chair and founder of the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness, Torlakson has been a leader in banning junk food from our schools, providing healthier school meals, promoting student health and fitness, and combating diabetes and obesity among our children. As State Superintendent, he continues his focus on these issues and expanding and streamlining support to the state’s 1,000 school districts.

Born in San Francisco, Torlakson served as a fireman in the United States Merchant Marine, earning the Vietnam Service Medal. He earned a BA in History, a Life Secondary Teaching Credential, and an MA in Education from the University of California, Berkeley. Tom lives in Pittsburg with his wife, Mae Cendaña Torlakson, a member of the Ambrose Recreation and Park District Board of Directors.

Moderator Biography:

Lenny Mendonca is a director in the Washington, D.C. and San Francisco offices of McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. He is also on the Shareholders’ Council of McKinsey (its board of directors), and for many years led the firm’s knowledge development efforts in overseeing the McKinsey Global Institute and the firm’s communications, which includes the McKinsey Quarterly. His client work is focused on service to public sector organizations, and over the course of his career he has helped dozens of government, corporate, and nonprofit clients solve their most difficult management challenges.

Lenny has led several McKinsey research efforts.  He has written and spoken extensively on globalization, productivity, economic development and competitiveness, corporate social responsibility, regulation, education, health care, financial services, and corporate strategy.

Lenny is the chairman emeritus of the Bay Area Council, chairman of the Economic Institute of the Bay Area, and vice chair of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council.  He serves on the boards of The New America Foundation, Common Cause, California Forward, the Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium, ChildrenNow, and The California Business for Educational Excellence Foundation.  He is also a trustee for the Committee for Economic Development.

He received his MBA and Certificate in Public Management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  He holds an AB, magna cum laude, in Economics from Harvard College.

Lenny lives on the Half Moon Bay coast, south of San Francisco, with his wife and two daughters, where he is the founder and owner of the Half Moon Bay BrewingCompany.


Brews and Views is the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s regular speakers series that tackles public issues that affect us all, from the Coastside of California to Washington, DC. Started by Lenny Mendonca, the founder of the Brewing Company and director at McKinsey & Company, Brews and Views serves as both a free public forum and fundraiser for Coastside nonprofit organizations (ten percent of all dinner proceeds are donated to a local nonprofit after each event). Previous notable guests include renowned forecaster Paul Saffo, managing director of foresight at Discern Analytics; Charles Kolb, president of the Committee for Economic Development; Mike McCurry, former press secretary for President Bill Clinton; Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle’s political reporter; and California State Assemblyman Jerry Hill.