Meet the Counselors

The Counseling Services Division has 21 full time generalist counselors and several part time counselors who in addition to teaching Counseling classes, provide personal, academic, and career counseling services to students.

Saddleback College Full Time Generalist Counselors
Dean of Counseling: Penny Skaff


Saddleback College Part Time Counselors
  • Maryam Afshari
  • Ladi Boustani
  • Ruth Datu
  • Camille Desopo
  • Melissa Hughes
  • Alejandra Hurtado
  • Erin Long
  • Christine Lopez-Ediss
  • Janeth Manjarrez
  • Rachel Marchioni
  • Carol May
  • Kara McCann
  • Mary McCarthy
  • Brent McLaren
  • Jesus Montoya
  • Lynn Nusbaum-Haines
  • Kaylan Rasch
  • Maria Rios
  • Selene Roman
  • Cindy Sorensen
  • Deb Watt 

Penny Skaff, Dean (2011)


ABD, Brandman University
M.A., Phillips Graduate Institute - Marriage and Family Counseling
B.A., Chico State University - Communications and Political Science
A.A., Saddleback College - Communications

Penny Skaff has been a full-time Counseling Instructor and Matriculation/SSSP Coordinator at Saddleback College since 2011.  As the SSSP Coordinator she has worked to institutionalize SB 1456, (Student Success Act) mandates that include required matriculation services and student comprehensive educational planning. Some of the college-wide collaborations she has led include College Pride Tuesdays, Tip of the Week and the Student Success Mentor program.  Penny served as the college’s Director of Student Development from 1999 to 2003.  She was the project director for the college’s SB70 CTE grant and with over thirteen years of counseling experience has consistently worked directly with students and taught counseling courses.  Her innovations on campus include the Academic Probation Program, No-F, the Freshman Advantage Program, and she recently chaired the college’s Progress Report Design Team, an automated college-wide early alert system for faculty.

Dr. Maryam Azary, Counselor/Professor (1990)

Maryam Azary

Psy.D., Alliant International University - Marital and Family Therapy
M.S., California State University, Los Angeles - Counseling Psychology
B.A., Texas Southern University - Psychology

Dr. Azary began at Saddleback College in 1990. She holds a Doctorate degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Marital and Family Therapy. She enjoys teaching Women Studies 120, Applied Psychology 160 and 140. In addition to her work as a Generalist Counselor, Maryam has enjoyed acting as Co-editor of the Saddleback College Student Handbook as well as working as a counselor in Special Services. She is currently coordinating the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) at Saddleback College and is a Co-chair of the Mental health Task Force Program. She respects and is sensitive to the diverse need of student population. Maryam is bilingual and bicultural (Farsi- English).


Doug Barr, Counselor/Professor (1991)

Doug Barr

M.S., Miami University - Personnel Counseling
B.S., Miami University - Business Finance

Professor Barr provides career, personal and academic counseling services to all students.  Doug's experience in education spans nearly 40 years.  He has been at Saddleback College since 1991 and a counselor/professor since 1998. Doug is also the counseling liaison with Nursing/Health Sciences and is also a participant in The College Crisis Intervention Team.  Professor Barr teaches AP160, Career Exploration and describes it as potentially “life-changing” for motivated students.  Learn more of him & the class he teaches via his faculty we page:  /faculty/dbarr


Pam Barr, Counselor/Professor (1992)

Pam Barr

M.S., California State University, Fullerton - Counseling
M.A.T., Cornell University - Master's in the Art of Teaching
B.S., Cornell University - Human Ecology

Professor Barr joined the Saddleback faculty in August 1992. Her responsibilities include generalist counseling, with special focus on student success strategies and probation students. Pam enjoys the diversity of the community college population, ranging from recent high school graduates to re-entry adults. She is available for academic, career and personal counseling during her sessions with students. In addition to counseling, she is a current member of the Academic Standards Committee, the Academic Senate and Curriculum committee.


Sarah Chang, Counselor/Assistant Professor (2012)

Sarah Chang

M.A., University of San Diego – Counseling
B.A., University of California, Irvine – Psychology and Social Behavior

Like many of you, Sarah Chang began her education in the California Community College system where she then transferred to UCI and completed her Bachelors Degree, continued on, and earned her Masters Degree in Counseling from USD. Her counseling experiences in higher education began at Saddleback when she joined the college in 2004, and have expanded to UC Irvine, Coastline Community College and Long Beach City College. Within these settings, prior to becoming full-time, she worked as a counselor in the Transfer Center and EOP&S departments, as well as with projects that focused on peer-mentoring, Career & Technical Education, and high school students. As a counselor, Sarah provides academic, personal, and career counseling to students as well as teaches Applied Psychology courses both online and in the classroom. She enjoys snowboarding, eating and trying new cuisines, and working with students to help them reach their goals!


Dr. Mariana DeSaracho, Counselor/Professor (1991)Dr. Mariana DeSaracho, Counselor/Professor (1991)


Ed.D., University of Southern California - Education
M.Ed., San Diego State University - Multicultural Counseling
B.S., San Diego State University - Business Administration - Marketing

Dr. DeSaracho has been a full-time counselor and Professor at Saddleback College since 1991. She is is bi-cultural and bi-lingual (English/Spanish). She provides personal, academic or career counseling in both languages. Mariana truly enjoys guiding and assisting her students on a one-to-one basis as well as working with them in group sessions. Dr. DeSaracho is a member of the Crisis Intervention Team and also conducts support groups in the Adult Reentry Center. Professor DeSaracho also teaches Counseling 1, 100, & 140 during the academic year.


Mike Engels, Counselor/Assistant Professor (2012)

Mike Engles

M.A., Webster University - Counseling
B.A., California State University, San Marcos - Human Development

Mr. Engels joined the Saddleback College family in 2007.  Since then he has held several positions, including Career Technical Education Counselor, Senior Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Counseling, and Career Services Technician.  He was also the Cooperative Work Experience Coordinator and Career Technical Counselor at Mt. San Jacinto College.   Prior to his community college experience, he worked at California State University, San Marcos and Elsinore High School. Mr. Engels holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Counseling from Webster University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Development from California State University, San Marcos.   He enjoys counseling students, teaching Applied Psychology courses, and actively being involved in the community.


David Francisco, Counselor/Professor (2001)

David Francisco

M.S., University of La Verne - School Counseling
M.A., Westminister Theological Seminary - Counseling and Theology
B.A., University of San Diego - Psychology

Professor Francisco started working at Saddleback College in the Center for Career and life Development in 1999. As a counselor, David enjoys teaching Applied Psychology classes, providing academic, career and personal counseling to students, and he has a particular interest in integrating counseling and technology. He is currently the Articulation Officer on campus and works with faculty, counselors and students on issues pertaining to transfer level coursework. In his spare time, David also enjoys teaching various wine appreciation courses through Saddleback College Community Education.


Steve Handa, Counselor/Professor (1988)

Steve Handa

M.S., California State University, Los Angeles - Counseling
B.A., California State University, Long Beach - English

Prior to his arrival at Saddleback College in 1988, Professor Handa received his bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Long Beach and his Master of Arts degree from California State University Los Angeles. He has been a counselor in California Community Colleges and the California State University System for over twenty years. Steve excels in teaching career exploration and planning in his Applied Psychology 160 courses. In addition to his busy schedule as a generalist counselor performing academic, career and personal counseling,


Paula Jacobs, Counselor/Professor (1981)

Paula Jacobs

Current graduate work: Ed.S/Ed.D. (Curriculum and Instruction), La Sierra University, Riverside, California
M.A., Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles - Educational Psychology
M.A., UC, Riverside/CSU, San Bernardino - Reading
B.A., Bethal College, St. Paul, Minnesota - History

Professor Jacobs joined Saddleback College Spring Semester 1981. Her current responsibilities include counseling and teaching Applied Psychology courses. Prior to joining Saddleback College, Professor Jacobs worked at College of the Canyons and College of the Desert. She has also been a secondary school teacher. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time at her condo on the beach.


Michael Long, Counselor/Professor (2007)

Mike Long

M.A., California State University, Dominguez Hills - Educational Counseling
B.A., California State University, Long Beach - Speech Communication
A.A., Long Beach City College - General Studies

Michael Long joined Saddleback College in August, 2002. His responsibilities include working with athletes and general students in personal, academic and career counseling. He also loves to teach Applied Psychology courses and speak at local High Schools representing Saddleback College.
Prior to joining Saddleback College full time, Michael worked in the Transfer Center at Saddleback and was a counselor at Citrus College.
In his spare time, Michael enjoys surfing Seal Beach (where he lives), Huntington Beach and San Onofre. He also loves to travel to Costa Rica, Hawaii and Europe. Here is the link to his Athletic Counseling web page: /faculty/mlong

Sharon Nussenbaum, Counselor/Professor (1988)

Sharon Nussenbaum

M.S., San Diego State University - Counseling
B.A., San Diego State University - Liberal Studies

Prior to beginning her work at Saddleback College in 1988, Professor Nussenbaum graduated from San Diego State University with Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. Sharon has tackled a number of projects here at Saddleback including coordinating the EOPS program. She particularly enjoys teaching Applied Psychology courses, career counseling, and being a member of the Crisis Intervention Team.

Dr. Jan Ventura, Counselor/Professor (1999)

Jan Ventura

Ph.D., California Schools of Professional Psychology, Fresno - Clinical Psychology
M.A., Whittier College - School Counseling
B.A., Whittier College - Mathematics

Dr. Ventura is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist. She has taught and counseled at the Anaheim High School District, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State University at Dominguez Hills, and Irvine Valley College before joining Saddleback College in 1997. Professionally she enjoys teaching Applied Psychology 151, Human Relationships, is a member of the Crisis Intervention Team and has a private practice in clinical psychology. Her leisure time pursuits include playing competitive tennis and enjoying her family.