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Advisory Commissioners and Members

Advisory Commission on Special Education Directory.
Commission Member Names, E-mail Address, Term, and Appointing Body

Commissioners Term Appointment
Sara Jocham
01/16/13-12/31/20 State Board
Keila Rodriguez
01/01/16-12/31/20 State Board
Christina N. Mills
01/01/16 -12/31/19 State Board
Somer Harding
01/16/13-12/31/20 State Board
Mildred Browne
01/15/14-12/31/19 State Board

Gina Plate



Mariano Sanz



Kimberly Salomonson
11/09/16-12/31/17 Governor
Steve Winlock
04/02/14-12/31/17 Governor
Havaughnia Hayes-White
02/17/17-12/31/17 Assembly

Betty Karnette



Barbara Schulman
08/20/12-12/31/19 Assembly

Michele J. Andrus



Lester Pincu
01/08/13-12/31/17 Senate
Gloria Perez-Stewart
06/18/16-12/31/19 Senate
Student Commission Member Name and E-mail Address

Leanne Libas,

In accordance with the ACSE Bylaws, Article I, Section 4, Tenure, "Every Commissioner whose term has expired may continue to discharge the duties of his/her office until his/her successor has qualified."

Legislative Members:

Senate Member
Ben Allen
916-651-4926 (fax)

Assembly Member
Tony Thurmond

Executive Secretary:
Kristin Wright
916-327-3706 (fax)

State Board Liaison:

Niki Sandoval
State Board of Education Liaison
1430 N Street, Room 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814

State Special Schools Director:

Scott Kerby
916-445-4550 (fax)

Commission Staff Liaison:

Venetia Davis
916-327-3706 (fax)

Commissioner’s Biographies
Somer Harding

Somer Harding is currently an elementary school principal in the Conejo Valley. When she was a teacher, she discovered a great love of working with students with disabilities and their families. It was a joyous process to find ways to help her students access the curriculum effectively and to help them become curious and engaged learners. As she became an administrator, she worked with programs serving severely Autistic students and she took great pride in advocating for these students' services and education.

Somer believes in impacting change through educational leadership. She has served as Charter and Regional President with the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) advocating for all students in California, and is now very proud to serve as a Commissioner for the California Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE) continuing her advocacy for Students with Disabilities.

Betty Karnette

Betty Karnette received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University Long Beach with a focus on K-12 and adult education. She taught 31 years for the Los Angeles Unified School District and received the following credentials: Reading Specialist, Adult Education Teacher, Master Teacher, ESL Specialist, Middle School Math Coordinator, and Administration.

Ms. Karnette was elected to the California State Legislature in 1992 and served 6 years in the Assembly and 8 in the Senate where she chaired transportation, elections, arts, port/trade select committees, and served on education committees in both houses. While serving, she authored significant legislation in the areas of elections, transportation, and education that were subsequently signed into law.

In addition to an educational and political career, Ms. Karnette's community activities include, but are not limited to, California Democratic Party, Long Beach Anti-Poverty Association, Long Beach Memorial Hospital Children’s Clinic, Long Beach Playhouse, Operation Jump Start, National Women’s Political Caucus, Planned Parenthood, Long Beach Historical Society, and the Retired Teachers Associations (local, state, and national). In 1987, she was named Woman of the Year, 57th Assembly District.

Mariano Sanz

Mariano Sanz is a school counselor at Palos Verdes Intermediate School with the Palos Verdes School District. Born and raised in Spain, Mr. Sanz obtained a masters in psychology from the Universidad de Salamanca and in school psychology from the Universidad de Madrid.

For 25 years, Mr. Sanz has been a teacher and middle school counselor for various school districts in the Los Angeles area. He is involved in promoting full inclusion for students with disabilities both as an educator and as the parent of a young woman with developmental disabilities.

Mr. Sanz is a member of the Harbor Regional Center (HRC) Board of Trustees. He has served on the HRC board for more than 20 years in various capacities, including as president and state representative.

Barbara Schulman

Barbara Schulman believes she was born a teacher. She received her Bachelor of Sciences degree in special education from Southern Illinois University and currently serves as a special education teacher at the Saddleback Valley Unified School District in Mission Viejo.

Ms. Schulman’s passion for special education emphasizes the benefits of full inclusion in the classroom, extra-curricular activities, and in paid employment. She strives to instill confidence and self-awareness in her students as well as a desire to be contributing members of society.

Among her many accolades, in 2011, Ms. Schulman was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Education Award from the Orange County Department of Education, a program that recognizes the contributions of individuals, groups, and organizations whose unique efforts have impacted the education of Orange County students.

Mildred Browne

Dr. Mildred Browne has spent 30 years as an educator and psychologist assisting and advocating for students and families whose needs fall outside traditional school system offerings. Holding increasingly responsible positions as director, administrative director, and assistant superintendent at school districts in California and Georgia, she is recognized for her expertise in special education, pupil services, student discipline, and alternative education. She has developed such innovative programs as the Mental Health Collaborative Model, the Counseling Clinic/Wrap Program, and the School Coordinated Care Teams. Dr. Browne has been sharing her knowledge about serving challenged students and their families in presentations to educators, families, and agency personnel for 25 years.

Over the past five years, Dr. Browne has had an opportunity to focus on her passion of addressing disproportionality as it relates to the over-representation of specific ethnic groups in special education and in regards to suspension and expulsion.

As a Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Director, Assistant Superintendent in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, and a consultant in San Francisco Unified School District, Dr. Browne has embraced an equity agenda in developing an equity plan, facilitating a district stakeholders’ equity advisory group, and writing a Significantly Disproportionate Coordinated Early Intervention Service Plan which was well received by the District’s school board and the California Department of Education.

Havaughnia Hayes-White

Dr. Havaughnia Hayes-White is a proud Alumna of California State University, Northridge (CSUN). Dr. Hayes-White earned a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development, Master of Arts in Early Childhood Special Education, Master of Arts in Education Administration, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Dr. Hayes-White earned three credentials issued through the State of California; Clear Education Specialist (Moderate to Severe Disabilities K-12), Clear Early Childhood Special Education Authorization, and a Clear Administrative Services Credential.

Dr. Hayes-White served as an employee of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for 15 years. She served the district at multiple capacities and grade levels from Education Specialist (Pre-K-12), Special Education Coordinator, and Bilingual/Title 1 Coordinator. As a Special Education Teacher, Dr. Hayes-White taught students who were diagnosed with Autism, severe cognitive & language delays, emotional disturbances, blindness, and multiple disabilities from Pre-School through 12th grades (up to 22 years of age). Under the role of Special Education Coordinator, Dr. Hayes-White prepared professional development presentations for faculty and staff in the areas of curriculum, assessment, positive behavior support, assistive technology, and District Validation Review. Her duties included survey completion, budget development, school site plan preparation, and safety/emergency planning. Dr. Hayes-White facilitated the majority of over 200 Individual Educational Plan (IEP) meetings with students and their families.

Dr. Hayes-White currently serves as a University Professor for California State University, Long Beach and National University. Within the California State University system, she teaches undergraduate/graduate students and supervises teacher candidates who are either pursuing their Bachelor and/or Master Degree(s) or California Teaching Credential(s). At National University, Dr. Hayes-White works closely with faculty, staff, teacher candidates, and outside districts/other education agencies to facilitate the fieldwork experience within Student Teacher/University Internship credential programs. She also teaches online/hybrid courses in Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe programs, and core special education courses to adult learners who are earning their Tier I or Tier II Education Specialist Credential(s).

Dr. Hayes-White’s heart felt philosophy is that all people, children and young adults with and/or without disabilities can learn when empowered with caring educators, high expectations, individualized support(s), and quality instruction that enriches them to strive for excellence. She believes it takes a collaborative team effort to design schools and programs within the State of California that are inclusive, vibrant, healthy, and exciting for all students!

Questions: Venetia Davis | | 916-323-9773 
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, May 31, 2017