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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Meet Elsa Perez, the new Interim Dean of Counseling

Fullerton College promotes former full-time counselor as the Interim Dean of Counseling through this school year.
Pedro Saravia
New Interim Dean of Counseling and Student Development, Elsa Perez, looks to make her mark in a limited time here on campus.

Students always seek to meet with their counselors about their progress and next steps to take in college, but their counselors do not operate on their own, as a dean leads them to better serve the student’s needs.

In the presence of other Faculty members from Fullerton College in conference room 224/226, The Counseling Department presented their new Interim Dean of Counseling and Student Development, Elsa Perez, at a “Meet and Greet” on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 9.

All attendees were greeted with a smile from Perez before being offered light snacks and beverages.

Although it was mostly counselors present, members of the Health Care Center, Cadena Cultural Center, Grads to be Programs, and other Fullerton College organizations attended to meet the new leader of the Counseling Department. Perez walked around and engaged in conversation with most of the tables full of attendees, each at a time.

New Interim Dean of Counseling and Student Development Elsa Perez (left) greets the Director of Student Development & Engagement Connie Moreno Yamashiro (right) on Tuesday, Sept.19, 2023. (Pedro Saravia)

Coming from being a counselor to many Hornets over the years, Perez was generally known by the majority of those in attendance. For those who were meeting her for the first time, she explained a little about her counseling background. “I worked in the counseling general council area as a full-time 10-year counseling faculty member,” said Perez.” I am a Former student [at Fullerton College] as well.”

Perez, the oldest of four daughters, comes from a household of formerly undocumented parents. She says she has always been family and community oriented, staying local for most of her lifetime. “I graduated local and from one of our [student] feeder schools, Anaheim High School,” said Perez. “I went to Cal State Fullerton and majored in child development and I went to Azusa Pacific University and got my master’s degree and my PPS credentials, which allows me to do counseling.”

While working as a full-time counselor at Fullerton College, the former Dean of Counseling Jennifer LaBounty was hired as Vice-President of Student Services at Saddleback College, leaving the dean position open for any faculty member to apply.

Perez applied for the position at that time and one of her coworkers, Counseling Administrative Assistant Christi O’Daniel, said she was surprised when she heard that Perez had applied. “It was a surprise when I saw her name in the applicant pool, but it was really good to see that she had applied,” said O’Daniel.

Being an alumnus that graduated in 2005, Perez she is living her dream of serving the Hornet community as a counselor. This title allows her the opportunity to give back to students the same way she benefited from the guidance of her Fullerton College EOPS counselor. “He really helped me navigate the college system to transition from high school to college,” said Perez. “I am just here to be part of that journey, now in this capacity.”

With Perez stepping into this role Friday, Sept.15, co-workers are excited to work under her direction. “Elsa is very resilient and she is very passionate about helping students,” said full-time counselor Porsha Boyd. “She has a lot to take on, but I have no doubt that we are moving in the right direction.”

“I have worked with her for the past five years in the counseling division. She is one of our academic counselors,” said O’Daniel. “It is a good thing that she has access to reaching out to the past dean for input and advice.”

New Interim Dean of Counseling and Student Development, Elsa Perez, interacts with Fullerton College faculty members at her “Meet and Greet” event on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. (Pedro Saravia)

Perez’s first obstacle is presented early on into her interim role. She is already tasked with the challenge of getting counselors prepared for the new winter session. “I think, getting prepared for that, to make sure that there are counselors ready to go for clearances and things like that when it comes to registration in winter session and spring. We are gearing up for that,” said Perez.

As interim, Perez is set to remain as Dean of the Counseling and Student Development until the end of this school year, in June 2024 when a new and permanent Dean will take the position.

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About the Contributor
Pedro Saravia
Pedro Saravia, News Editor
Pedro Saravia is the News Desk Editor for The Hornet Newspaper. He previously wrote for Inside Fullerton magazine. Pedro is a five-time award winning journalist. He received Meritorious recognition from JACC and second place for Sports Investigative Story from CMA for his work investigating Title IX issues at Fullerton College. Pedro has also won second place in Profile, second place in Photo Illustration and an honorable mention in Audio Podcast from JACC. Pedro enjoys going to the gym, playing and watching soccer, and hanging with his brother. He aspires to be a politics and sports reporter.

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