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Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC)

What is the Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC)?

The purpose of a Special Education Advisory Council is to build full, equal and equitable partnerships between families, the school District and community partners, on a council that gives advisory opinions to the Board of Education on matters pertaining to the education and safety of students with disabilities.

Please note that general membership is open to any interested GPS parent or guardian of a child with a disability, previously known to have a disability, or suspected of having a disability, under the IDEA or Section 504, or who is currently eligible to receive Special Education or 504 accommodations and services, from ages 3-21, and who are both residents of the Town of Greenwich.  To learn more about the Greenwich SEAC, please refer to our by-laws.

If you would like to be part of the Greenwich SEAC's general membership and be kept up to date on meetings, committee work and workshops, please complete this short form to add your email to the distribution list

SEAC Meetings

SEAC Members

Below are the current members of the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC). These voting members were selected at random from a list of interested applicants. Members represent a broad range of perspectives.


  • Mary Callison, Parent
  • Pedro Campos, Parent
  • Andrea Cosby, Parent
  • Kiera Lewis, Parent
  • Don McGuire, Parent
  • Daria Pestone, Parent
  • Alex Saltis, Parent
  • Raquel Sosa, Parent
  • Jeannine Tanton, Parent
  • Kathy Walker, Parent
  • Abby Anders, Administrator
  • Jennifer Dunn, General Education Teacher
  • Maria Jukic, General Education Teacher
  • Julia Reisch, Special Education Teacher
  • Beth Forger, Special Education Teacher
  • Lisa Berluti, BCBA
  • Jennifer Donat, Literary Specialist, GPS
  • Audra O'Donovan, Vice Chair, Parent
  • Dawn Zimmerman, Vice-Chair, Parent
  • Jenni Reynolds, Chair, Parent
  • Lauren Hanemann, Parent Alternate
  • Christine Zibilich, Parent Alternate
  • Alexis Antonecchia, Educator Alternate
  • Elizabeth Kitselman, Educator Alternate

Non-Voting Contributing Members:

  • Dr. Toni Jones, Superintendent, Greenwich Public Schools
  • Dr. Stacey Heiligenthaler, Chief Officer of Special Education and Student Supports, Greenwich Public Schools
  • Karen Hirsh, Greenwich Board of Education
  • Karen Kowalski, Greenwich Board of Education
  • Michael-Joseph Mercanti-Anthony, Greenwich Board of Education
  • Jennifer Lussier, CPAC Consultant
  • Lynne Rule, CPAC Consultant 


SEAC Enrichment Presentations

A Guide to the IEP and Universal Design for Learning with Dr. Jenna Rufo

Dr. Rufo is a passionate advocate for inclusive education and was inspired to enter the field of education by her sister, Nina, who is disabled.  Her experience includes roles as a special educator, inclusion facilitator, special education administrator, assistant superintendent and state policy specialist. In this presentation, she reviews students’ rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), particularly focusing on the IEP process and the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). Dr. Rufo also provided a thorough overview of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and how it supports children’s participation in general education, complete with examples at various grade levels. (PowerPoint | Video)

Mental Health in Greenwich Public Schools - a panel with GPS Mental Health Professionals

The panelists, mental health professionals spanning all school levels, addressed various mental health topics, including anxiety, challenging behaviors, big feelings, and social struggles that children may face. Throughout the presentation, the panelists shared helpful articles, links, and resources within GPS and the broader community. These resources are valuable tools for parents and staff to learn more about mental health issues, find support for their children, and connect with other parents and caregivers who are facing similar challenges. (PowerPoint)

Executive Function and Working Memory with Dr. Lydia Soifer

SEAC’s Executive Functions and Working Memory Workshops The Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) and Office of Special Education and Student Supports held a two-part workshop that featured Dr. Lydia Soifer, who discussed executive functions and working memory. For those that missed it, or would like to review it again, please follow the links below for the printed presentations. For further details contact:

  • May 23 (Executive Functions): handout
  • June 14 (Working Memory): handout

Collaborative and Proactive Solutions - Moving from Power and Control to Collaboration and Problem Solving: Dr. Ross Greene

The CPS model has transformed thinking and practices in countless families, schools, inpatient psychiatry units, and residential and juvenile detention facilities throughout the world, and has been associated with dramatic reductions in adult-child conflict, challenging behaviors, disciplinary referrals, detentions, suspensions, seclusions, and physical, chemical, and mechanical restraints. The model represents a significant departure from discipline-as-usual: it focuses on solving problems rather than on modifying behavior, emphasizes collaborative rather than unilateral solutions, encourages proactive rather than reactive intervention, de-emphasizes diagnostic categories, and provides practical, research-based tools for assessment and intervention. Participants in this workshop series will gain a further understanding of the underpinnings of the model, its refinements over the past 8-10 years, and practical assessment and intervention tools that can be brought back to and used in these diverse settings.

Video Link:

Collaborative and Proactive Solutions Video


SEAC District Spotlights

  • Second Step Program - 5/16/23 - Dr. Alina Boie discussed Social Emotional Learning and provided an overview of the Second Step program used by the district.  
  • GPS Listening Community - 9/26/23 - Sabrina Motta presented and provided an overview of the Listening Community, a space for parents of students with disabilities to come together, feel heard and connect with others

SEAC Video