Communities of East Los Angeles (CELA)

  • The Communities of East Los Angeles (CELA) organized as a chapter of NAEYC in February of 1979, and is enthusiastic about rejoining as a committee of SCAEYC.  CELA serves the communities of:  Boyle Heights, City Commerce, East Los Angeles, El Sereno, Lincoln Heights, Monterey Park, Montebello, and Pico Rivera, but anyone is welcomed to join.

    Why join CELA?

    Professional growth is an important and on-going aspect of professionalism. CELA a committee of the Southern California Advocates for Every Young Child (SCAEYC), affiliate, provides opportunities to connect and network with educators that work with young children and their families, in your professional community.  Benefits of membership in SCAEYC include:

    • Inside information about scholarship and awards
    • Receive NAEYC professional journal (Young Children) to keep you up-dated on latest research and practices and CAEYC’s Connections.
    • Information about upcoming events, conferences and workshops (members receive reduced fees)
    • Access to the up-to-date job listings in the field
    • A chance to meet the movers and shakers in the field
    • The prospect of being mentored by the best educators of young children
    • A chance of being a part of the largest organization working to improve the quality of services to young children and their families
    • A chance to be a part of the largest organization working towards improving the salaries of those working with young children

    For information regarding membership in SCAEYC #903 and our committee you may contact via go online to, or download a membership application here:  NAEYC Membership Form for SCAEYC

    Roberta Gonzalez (CELA Co-Chair)

    Ms. Roberta Gonzalez has served as the principal of the El Rancho Unified School District’s Early Learning Programs since 2008.  In her capacity as principal, she oversees preschool programs for over 400 children at 10 school sites.  During the past two and a half years, she has spearheaded curricular reforms within the preschool program aimed at improving children’s readiness for kindergarten.

    Prior to her administrative career in ERUSD, Ms. Gonzalez served as the Assistant Director for the UCLA Program for Integrated School and Community Solutions.  While at UCLA, Ms. Gonzalez developed policy reports and organized professional development seminars for California First Five Commissioners, school district superintendents, and early childhood educators.

    Ms. Gonzalez grew up in Pico Rivera, California and is a product of the El Rancho Unified School District.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University and a Master’s Degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

    Melba Schefres (CELA Co-Chair)

    Melba Schefres has worked in the child development field for 25 years in various capacities.   For the past 20 years she has worked for the El Rancho Unified School District in the City of Pico Rivera and has held the position of Parent Advisor and Resource Teacher for the State Preschool Program for the past 17 years.  Mrs. Schefres is a certified educator of infant massage, a certified instructor in Dunstan Baby Language, and has been trained in the Brazelton Institute’s Newborn Behavioral Observation System.  Mrs. Schefres earned her Master’s Degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College and is a professional presenter in parent education and social and cognitive development topics.  She currently serves as a co-chair for the CELA Committee of the SCAEYC affiliate of NAEYC.

    Angelica Del Castillo-Garcia (CELA Rep.)

    Angelica Del Castillo-Garcia is a founding member of the Communities of East Los Angeles (CELA) a committee of SCAEYC, and is currently serving as CELA Representative.  Dr. Del Castillo-Garcia began her career in the field of Child Development in 1962.  Her career experiences include teaching in both the private and public sector, as preschool teacher; parent educator; implemented and Early Childhood Education ROP program at the secondary level; community college adjunct professor; child development administrator including serving as a consultant at the Calif. State Department of Education, Child Development Division.  She currently serves on the board of directors of Infant Massage USA Chapter of the International Association of Infant Massage, promoting infant mental health.

    She holds a baccalaureate degree in sociology with a minor in psychology; a masters degree in Elementary Education with a specialty in Early Childhood Education, and Ph.D. in Education with a focus on Human Development.

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