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STEM Task Force

A volunteer group appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to explore the status of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education in curriculum, instructional practices, professional learning, etc.

On May 24, 2012, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla convened 55 volunteers to become members of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Task Force.

Co-chaired by Herb Brunkhorst and Susan Hackwood, the STEM Task Force members will explore the status of STEM education in curriculum, instructional practices, professional learning, student testing, existing resources, and community and business partnership.

The STEM Task Force members will then assess the state’s future needs, as well as recommend a blueprint on how to improve teaching, learning, and equal access to STEM-related courses and careers for students in kindergarten through grade twelve. The public may also contribute information–including resources and research–to the Task Force via the Brokers of Expertise Web site at

What's New

June 30, 2014: INNOVATE: A report by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson's STEM Task Force (PDF)

May 24, 2012: State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Creates Science, Technology, Engineering, Math Task Force


The STEM Task Force members will recommend a blueprint on how to improve teaching, learning, and equal access to STEM-related courses and careers for students in kindergarten through grade twelve. The resultant blueprint will include career technical education, and newly developed national Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.

The Task Force will organize its work to address five key areas—curriculum and instruction, resources and infrastructure, professional learning, testing and assessment, and community and business partnerships.

  1. Curriculum and Instructional Practices: Review the status of STEM education and recommend how to improve instructional practices and engage more students in STEM-related fields.

  2. Resources: Identify existing resources and recommend the development and dissemination of additional resources. These resources should assist schools develop STEM programs that are relevant and engaging to students.

  3. Professional Learning: Identify existing and recommend professional learning support that provides high quality professional learning opportunities to educators of STEM-related courses and disciplines.

  4. Student Testing/Assessment: Review, identify, and recommend state and local STEM-related testing and assessments that measure applied learning and real-world situations and what constitutes high-quality STEM programs and disciplines.

  5. Community and Business Partnerships: Identify, review, and recommend how community and business partnerships, including informal learning settings, can support and engage students in STEM education.

  • Herb Brunkhorst, CSU San Bernardino, Professor and Department Chair of Science, Math and Technology, Task Force Co-Chair
  • Susan Hackwood, California Council on Science and Technology, Executive Director, Task Force Co-Chair
  • Elizabeth Babcock, California Academy of Sciences, Chief Public Engagement Officer and Roberts Dean of Education
  • Arthur Beauchamp, UC Davis School of Education, Professor
  • Robert Becker, Downey Unified School District, Science Teacher
  • Susan Bonilla, California Assembly, Assemblywoman
  • Joan Buchanan, California Assembly, Assemblywoman
  • Aida Buelna, Esparto School District, Superintendent, Esparto SD
  • Lewis Chappelear, Los Angeles Unified School District, Teacher
  • Muhammed Chaudhry, Silicon Valley Education Foundation, President and CEO
  • Kevin Cuff, UC Berkeley/ Lawrence Hall of Science , Director, East Bay Academy for Young Scientists, Coordinator of Public Programs
  • Doug Dall, Glendale Unified School District, Principal
  • Gina Dalma, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Program Officer
  • Jeff Davis, California After School Network , Afterschool Network Coordinator
  • LaTonya Derbigny, Vallejo Unified School District, Director, School and Student Accountability
  • Kathi DiRanna, Wested/K-12 Alliance, Executive Director
  • Rowena Douglas, Exploratorium, Director of Educational Outreach
  • Zack Dowell, Los Rios Community College, Instructor
  • Jon Dueck, Fresno County Office of Education, Mathematics and Science Consultant
  • Richard Farnsworth, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Manager, Education Outreach
  • Karen Flammer, Sally Ride Science and Sally Ride Science Camp, President and CEO
  • Anna Gaiter, California Science Center, Los Angeles, Director of Professional Development
  • John Galisky, Lompoc Unified School District, Teacher
  • Linda Galliher, Bay Area Council, Vice President Public Policy
  • Emilio Garza, Foshay Learning Center, Los Angeles, Assistant Principal
  • Susie Hakansson, California Mathematics Project, Executive Director
  • Christi Harter, San Mateo County Office of Education, STEM Center Director
  • Joe Head, SummerHill Homes, CEO
  • Arron Jiron, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Program Officer, STEM Projects
  • Sheila Jordan, Alameda County Office of Education, Superintendent
  • John Knezovich, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Director, University Outreach and Science Education
  • John Lamb, California National Guard, Starbase Youth Program, Sargent Major, Director
  • Kathlan Latimer, California Mathematics Council, President
  • Meri Maben, U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Honda's Office, 15th Congressional District (Strong advocate for STEM)
  • Devon MacLeod, Galt Unified School District, Teacher
  • Robin Mencher, KQED, Director, STEM Resources
  • Suzanne Nakashima , Yuba City Unified School District, Teacher
  • Rick Pomeroy, California Science Teachers Association, President
  • Oscar Porter, Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA)/UCOP, Statewide Executive Director
  • Curren Price, California Senate, Senator
  • Bruce Roberts, California School Boards Association, Natomas USD Board Member
  • Christopher Roe, California STEM Learning Network, CEO
  • Jacqueline Rojas, Californians Together , Teacher
  • Patricia “Pat” Rucker, California State Board of Education, Member
  • Tim Sbranti, CDE Foundation, CDE Foundation Liaison
  • David Seidel, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Manager of Elementary and Secondary Education Programs
  • Maria Simani, California Science Project, Executive Director
  • Gerald Solomon, Samueli Foundation, Executive Director
  • Mark Sontag, Irvine Unified School District, Curriculum Coordinator
  • Leroy Tripett, Intel Corp, STEM Coordinator
  • Mark Walker, Applied Materials, Head of Philanthropy
  • Willie B. Williams, National Technical Association, Regional President
  • Alison Wiscombe, California State PTA, PTA Representative
  • Mark Wyland, California Senate, Senator
  • Tom Zazueta, Coakley Hagerty, CEO
  • Nancy Taylor, San Diego Science Alliance, Executive Director

Current California Department of Education STEM Information is available on the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Web page.

Questions:   Superintendent's Initiatives Office | 916-319-0800
Last Reviewed: Monday, June 30, 2014

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