Thomasinia Ortiz-Gallegos is the director of the department. She began her career in higher education in 1996 and has had an opportunity to work closely with nearly every aspect of student affairs. Ortiz-Gallegos works very closely with administration for recruitment, matriculation and retention initiatives. She says she considers it a privilege to work with such an amazing staff and says her biggest achievement is watching students who started as freshmen reach their goal of graduating and becoming successful individuals.
David Esquibel is the department’s coordinator for accessibility and testing services and an academic adviser. Esquibel has a wealth of knowledge in serving students with disabilities and is available to inform all students who may have a physical, psychological, emotional, learning or other disability as defined by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, or all services and accommodations available at Highlands. The COMPASS, GED, and other non-affiliated tests are coordinated and administered by Esquibel. Esquibel is available to conduct academic advisement for all undergraduate Highlands students.
Eldora Morris is the department's interpreter services coordinator. Morris has an extensive background in coordinating interpreting services and is a CI/CT certified. Morris assists Highlands’s deaf and hard-of-hearing community with coordinating their auxiliary aids and accommodation requests.
Simon Cao is the department’s academic advisor. Cao offers the department much knowledge, as he was Connor Resident Hall’s director for a number of years. Cao works closely with each coordinator and specifically the director of Academic Support in bringing retention initiatives to full implementation. Cao is also responsible for academic advisement for all undergraduate Highlands students.
Annette Garcia is the department’s administrative assistant. She has years of experience at Highlands and oversees the departmental budget. Garcia is an instrumental asset to the department and works closely to assist director and coordinators with project completion.
Debra Maes is the department’s administrative secretary. She, too, has years of experience a Highlands and oversees the day-to-day duties and functions of the office. Maes works closely with the director of Career Services, the coordinator of accessibility and testing, and the director of the department.