Laura San Giacomo

Laura San Giacomo is not only an award-winning actress, but also a children's advocate who founded an award-winning charter school. She received the Independent Spirit Award for her work in Steven Soderbergh's sex, lies, and videotape and has been twice nominated for Golden Globes®, for her performance in that film, as well as her performance as Maya Gallo on the series Just Shoot Me. Other credits include Pretty Woman, Quigley Down Under, Under Suspicion, Suicide Kings, With Friends Like These?, Checking Out, Havoc and Once Around, the latter playing Holly Hunter's sister.

San Giacomo began her advocacy work when she proved to her school district that it was appropriate that her 3-year-old son, who suffers from cerebral palsy, be included in a typical classroom setting. She is one of a group of dedicated parents that, along with educators from California State University Northridge, helped found the CHIME Charter Elementary School. Named as California Charter School of the Year in 2005 and nominated for the California Distinguished School Award in 2003, the elementary school is one of four programs and inclusive schools that is run under the CHIME Institute. San Giacomo continues to work with the district for quality programs not only to benefit her son but also to set precedence and create a trail of opportunity for other children by addressing the issue of full inclusion on a national level.

San Giacomo has been honored by The American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, by Media Access for her Inclusive Education PSA in "The More You Know" series, by Shane's Inspiration with a Humanitarian Award, SERT's Gilly Award and Redbook's Mother and Shaker Award. She has been a keynote speaker at several National TASH and CalTASH conferences, as well as at two U.S. Department of Education-sponsored conferences: The Second National Summit on Successfully Serving Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools and The National Charter School Conference.

San Giacomo is also a supporter of such organizations as Special Equestrian Riding Therapy, Shane's Inspiration, The Music Therapy Program at CSUN, Project ALS and MOVE International.

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