Speaker Date Topic
Jeff Baier and Sandra McGonagle May 20, 2021
Challenges of virtual/hybrid teaching

Jeffrey Baier, Superintendent in the Los Altos School District, inspires a passion for learning in students and staff.  With more than 20 years of experience in education, Jeff has served students as a teacher, assistant principal and principal, spanning elementary through middle school, all within the Los Altos and Mountain View School Districts in California.  He is passionate about improving learning experiences for students and has challenged the status quo in a top performing public school district to ensure students are prepared for their futures.  Jeff was among the first to develop blended learning environments with Khan Academy and has led the effort to bring numerous innovative programs to LASD.  When not focused on schools, you can find Jeff with his family, with his camera, at a lacrosse field, or all three simultaneously.




Sandra is a graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and San Jose State University. She taught middle school for many years prior to becoming a mentor for new teachers.She then entered the world of educational leadership - she loves pushing the boundaries of what teaching and learning look like in our schools. She served as principal at both Santa Rita Elementary School and Blach Intermediate School in Los Altos before becoming Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. Sandra, her husband, and two sons live in San Jose. When not working, you can find her reading a good book or cooking a feast for her family.






Dawn Smithson May 27, 2021
Water Supply in Disasters
Water Supply in Disasters
Dawn Smithson, the Los Altos District Manager for California Water Service, has been with Cal Water for 17 years and has extensive hands-on knowledge of water distribution, operations and treatment systems.
In her presentation to the Rotary Club of Los Altos on May 27, she will inform us how CalWater prepares for disasters, explain their emergency response plans and Emergency Operations Center.
Carol Damonte and Katie Povejsil Jun 03, 2021
Art Changes Us

Our June 3 presentation will feature Carol Damonte, the founder of Art Changes Us, a program for high school youth in the greater Mountain View-Los Altos area to discover their purpose through art. Art Changes Us (artchangesus.org) provides high school youth from underrepresented parts of our community with a safe, supportive space to explore the change-making power of connection, creativity and social entrepreneurship to prepare for life as adults. This non-faith-based program is open to ALL and is sponsored by Los Altos United Methodist Church as a community service.

Founder and Managing Creative Director of Art Changes Us
Carol Damonte combines her passion for music and art with deep experience in youth development. For the past 38 years, Carol has been the Director of Youth Music at the Los Altos United Methodist Church (LAUMC), touching the lives of thousands of teens. Combining vocal performance and performing arts, she and her husband, Dirk Damonte, composed and produced 17 original musicals that have been performed all over the world. In 2018, her lifelong love of photography and visual arts led her to become a Fellow with the ChangeMaker Initiative and create the founding vision for Art Changes Us. 
Carol has a BA in Piano Pedagogy/Performance from the University of Puget Sound. 
Acting Executive Director of Art Changes Us
Beginning as an engineer, Katie found her way into the burgeoning personal computer business at Apple in 1983. After 10 years at Apple, primarily involved in the education business, she switched to independent consulting for technology and media companies such as HP, Adobe, Cisco and PBS as well as many smaller start-ups. In 2008, she returned to corporate life as head of marketing at Turnitin and then at PresenceLearning, both rapidly growing ed-tech firms. She retired in 2018 and currently consults pro bono with social enterprises and travels with her husband, Bill Scull.
Katie has a BS in engineering from Cornell University and a MS in Engineering from Stanford University.
Joe Eyre Jun 10, 2021
Spring Grants
General H. R. McMaster Jun 17, 2021
Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World:BD
Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World:BD

H. R. McMaster is the Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.  He is also the Bernard and Susan Liautaud Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.  He was the 26th assistant to the president for National Security Affairs. Upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1984, McMaster served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army for thirty-four years before retiring as a Lieutenant General in June 2018.

From 2014 to 2017 McMaster designed the future army as the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center and the deputy commanding general of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). As commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, he oversaw all training and education for the army’s infantry, armor, and cavalry force. His has extensive experience leading soldiers and organizations in wartime including Commander, Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force—Shafafiyat in Kabul, Afghanistan from 2010 to 2012; Commander, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Iraq from 2005 to 2006; and Commander, Eagle Troop, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Operation Desert Storm from 1990 to 1991. McMaster also served overseas as advisor to the most senior commanders in the Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

McMaster holds a PhD in military history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He was an assistant professor of history at the United States Military Academy from 1994 to 1996.  He is author of Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World and the award-winning Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies that Led to Vietnam.  He was a contributing editor for Survival: Global Politics and Strategy from 2010 to 2017.  His many essays, articles, and book reviews on leadership, history, and the future of warfare have appeared in The AtlanticForeign AffairsSurvival, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.  


Bonnie Burdett Jun 24, 2021
Kickout Lunch
2021-22 RI President Shekhar Mehta Jul 08, 2021
Serve To Change Lives
Serve To Change Lives
Ingrid Newkirk Jul 22, 2021
Animalkind: Remarkable Discoveries about Animals and Revolutionary New Ways to Show Them Compassion
Animalkind: Remarkable Discoveries about Animals and Revolutionary New Ways to Show Them Compassion

Ingrid Elizabeth Newkirk is a British animal welfarist and the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the world's largest animal rights organization. She will discuss her new book, Animalkind: Remarkable Discoveries about Animals and Revolutionary New Ways to Show Them CompassionShe is the author of several books, including The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights: Simple Acts of Kindness to Help Animals in Trouble(2009) and Animalkind: Remarkable Discoveries About Animals and Revolutionary New Ways to Show Them Compassion (2020). Newkirk has worked for the animal-protection movement since 1972.  Since she founded PETA in 1980, Newkirk remains committed to ending animal use and the idea that, as PETA's slogan says, "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment