Overview of the CAC

Community Advisory Committee (CAC) 
Parents, Educators, and Agencies working together to share information and build a strong future 


"Optimizing the educational outcomes of students with special needs in the Southwest SELPA by representing the voices of families in the region." 


All families with children in special education in one of the 12 school districts and 5 charter schools in the Southwest SELPA are invited to attend Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meetings to learn more about current and important issues in special education. 

The CAC meetings provide families with the opportunity to: 

- Hear about what is happening in special education 

- Provide public input about what concerns them 

- Learn how to become more involved 

- Meet other families  


What is the Community Advisory Committee?            

Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is a group of parents, educators and community members who are concerned with the educational needs of children with disabilities. The CAC serves in an advisory capacity to the SELPA regarding community opinions, concerns, and suggestions pertaining to special education and related services to students with disabilities. 

The CAC strives to raise community consciousness of special education and increase community acceptance in the difference of learning styles and the need for educational and vocational provisions to accommodate these differences. The CAC believes classroom instruction should address all ability levels and learning styles. To achieve this, the CAC represents and supports the interests of children with disabilities, their parents, educators and our community. Each Local Plan Area (submitted under EC Section 56190) in the state of California is mandated to establish a Community Advisory Committee. 

What does the CAC do?            

- Increases parent awareness of changes in special education laws  

- Informs parents of resources within the community  

- Serves in an advisory capacity in the review and development of the Local Plan for Special Education  

- Recommends annual priorities to be addressed by the SELPA  

- Encourages community involvement in the development of the Local Plan  

- Assists in parent education and recruitment. 


Who is CAC ? 

CAC representatives provide input to the SW SELPA governance councils in serving pupils and families with special needs. The CAC is designed to include all parents, educators, agency representatives, and others who are interested in children with special needs are invited to attend presentations, training and receive resources in the local community. Please call 310-680-5770 ext.5807 for a schedule of activities and council meetings. Other information is also available on www.swselpa.org

The function of CAC is to: 

- Provide parent education through topical presentations and informational meetings. 

- Provide an opportunity to learn and share with other parents who have similar experiences. 

- Enrich advocacy skills. 

- Build communication between schools, parents and related agencies. 

- Promote community awareness. 


How do I become a CAC representative?            

Each school district and charter is represented by 2 parents and 1 professional.  Contact your school districts Program Director and ask to speak to your district’s parent representative to learn more.     


                 2023-2024 CAC District Representatives  

Vanessa Arauza - Centinela Valley Union High School District  

Mary-Jo Gagliardi - El Segundo Unified School District  

Arturo Luna - Hawthorne School District  

Sonia Ramos - Hawthorne School District  

Mabel Schneckenberger - Hermosa Beach City School District 

Judith Barrera - Lawndale Elementary School District  

Marysol Perez - Lawndale Elementary School District  

Liliana Nassif - Lennox School District 

Cynthia Putnam - Manhattan Beach Unified School District  

Gretchen Newman- Manhattan Beach Unified School District  

Dunia Borrelli - Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District  

Jean Hirano - Redondo Beach Unified School District  

Karen Ford Cull - Redondo Beach Unified School District  

Angelina Wilson- Torrance Unified School District  

Rosie Meza - Wiseburn Unified School District  


Childcare is available at all meetings. Please call to arrange. Bilingual (Spanish) interpreter will be available. Call the SW SELPA office for other special needs/accommodations at 310-680-5770.  

School Districts: 

  • Centinela Valley Union High School District 

  • El Segundo Unified School District 

  • Hawthorne School District 

  • Hermosa Beach City School District 

  • Inglewood Unified School District 

  • Lawndale Elementary School District 

  • Lennox School District 

  • Manhattan Beach Unified School District 

  • Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District 

  • Redondo Beach Unified School District 

  • Torrance Unified School District 

  • Wiseburn Unified School District 


Charter Schools: 

  • Century Community Charter 

  • Family First Charter  

  • Lennox Math, Science, Technology Academy 

  • New Opportunities Charter (9-12) 

  • Opportunities for Leaning Capistrano 

11th Annual CAC Awards

The Southwest Special Education Local Plan Area (SW SELPA) Community Advisory Committee (CAC) presents the 11th Annual Staff & Community Partners Awards Night: "Supporting Inclusive Practices." Wednesday, April 17, 2024. The SW SELPA CAC is recognizing outstanding staff or community members who support the academic, social, and/or emotional growth of students with disabilities.