Meet the Counselors

The Counseling Services Division has 18 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: Dr. Penny Skaff

Saddleback College Part Time Counselors

  • Maryam Afshari
  • Emad Aloka
  • Ladi Boustani
  • Carolina Bonitatis
  • Deborah Chau
  • Ruth Datu
  • Casey Eyman
  • Kirsten Heben
  • Alejandra Hurtado
  • Christine Lopez Ediss
  • Kelli Lyons
  • Elisa Manese
  • Carol May
  • Mary McCarthy
  • Hochin Moon
  • Marisa Perez-Amorde
  • Maria Rios
  • Brooke Sauter
  • Cindy Sorensen
  • Cassandra Terrazas
  • Taylor Tirona
  • Angel Torres
  • Deb Watt 

Dr. Penny Skaff, Dean (2011)


Ed.D, 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, Counseling 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 COUN160, Career Exploration and describes it as potentially “life-changing” for motivated students.  Learn more of him & the class he teaches via his faculty web page:  /faculty/dbarr

Sarah Chang, Counselor/Assistant Professor (2012)


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 Counseling 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 Counseling classes, providing academic, career and personal counseling to students, and he has a particular interest in integrating counseling and technology. Currently, David teaches online and provides online counseling for students.

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 Counseling 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 Counseling courses, career counseling, and being a member of the Crisis Intervention Team.

Laura Toscano, Counselor/ Professor (2017)

M.A., Webster University – Counseling
B.S., Hope International University- Human Development 
A.A., Saddleback College - Human Service

Ms. Toscano has compiled a wealth of experience and knowledge since joining the Saddleback College family in 1994. She has served in several positions such as: Generalist Counselor, EOPS Counselor, Re-Entry Counselor, CalWORKs Counselor, Transfer Counselor, International Counselor, Senior Matriculation Specialist, Admission and Records Specialist, ESL Outreach Facilitator, Financial Assistant Specialist Aide, and Federal Work Study Aide.  As an alumni and a success story of Saddleback College, Ms. Toscano is empathic to the personal sacrifices, obstacles, emotional stress, and social pressures that many community college students encounter.Ms. Toscano contributes to the success of a diverse and multicultural student population through personal, academic and career counseling. She is bi-cultural and bi-lingual (English/Spanish). Pronoun: She/Her/Hers.

Kathy Tuominen-Lenney, Counselor (2017)

M.S.W., California State University, Long Beach - Social Work
B.A., University of Notre Dame - English

Kathy Tuominen-Lenney is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and joined Saddleback College in 2004.  Prior to joining the Saddleback College family, Mrs. Tuominen-Lenney worked as an adoption counselor.  At Saddleback College, in addition to working as a Generalist Counselor, she has worked in the EOPS, CARE and CalWORKs programs.  Mrs. Tuominen-Lenney enjoys co-coordinating the Crisis Intervention Team and running stress management workshops on campus.  In her free time, she likes to go camping, boogie boarding and enjoys playing the piano.