Larry Damato

Carolina Avila

B.A., M.S., San Francisco State University

Jack Sugawara

Sheryl Blumenthal

BA, MSW, MPH: University of California at Berkeley 

Ms. Blumenthal has been a counselor at CCSF since 1991

Ms. Blumenthal wants her students to understand the college educational process, and she encourages them to develop their academic potential to the fullest degree. She is one of the liaison counselors to the Radiologic Sciences, Fashion, and Health Information Technology programs.

Board member of Friends of the Library, and member of Honors Committee, International Education Committee, and Café Musee French Club.

Ms. Blumenthal speaks French and one of her main interests is ballroom dance

Cynthia Obenchain

Patty Chong-Delon

B.A., University of California, Los Angeles; M.S., California State University, Los Angeles

Larry Damato

Larry Damato

B.S. Biological Sciences (USF) and M.A. Counseling (USF)

Mr. Damato has been employed as a counselor at CCSF since 1990.

My goal as a CCSF counselor is to help students achieve whatever academic goals they have by giving accurate information and comprehensive assistance to students with their educational planning.

Life-long Sports Fan. Collector of sports memorabilia. Licensed Real Estate professional.

Rico Gelera

Rico Gelera

International Student Counseling Program

Don “Rico” Gelera believes in each student’s potential. Mr. Gelera and students partner to envision, manifest, and achieve all academic and personal goals.

B.S. in Business Administration, Emphasis in International Business   M.S. in Counseling, Specializations in Marriage Family Therapy and College Counseling

Julie Harris

Julie Harris

A.A., Glendale College; B.A., San Jose State University; M.A., San Francisco State University

Donna Hayes

Donna Hayes

AA: Canada College; BA: SFSU; MS: SFSU

Ms. Hayes' philosophy is that students should thoroughly understand the educational process. She strives to provide her students with the information and support they need to succeed.



Tessa Henderson-Brown

Tessa Henderson-Brown ~ MUB

A.A., City College of San Francisco; B.A., M.S., San Francisco State University

Mrs. Brown is an Alumni of CCSF.  As a Department Chair, Counselor and Instructor she is commited to CCSF and helping all students, especially those from underrepresented, disadvantaged, at-risk backgrounds.  Student Centered, Student Success, Students First!

Mrs. Brown has worked in the field of counseling since 1994 which began in General Counseling. She started her counseling career at CCSF in 2002 as a part-time counselor in CSCD.  She is an Academic, Career & Veteran Counselor.  She has been teaching at CCSF since 2007, College Success LERN 50 courses. She shares her duties between serving students in Academic Counseling ~ MUB and the Veteran's Educational Transition Service (VETS) Office in Cloud 333

Tessa has coordinated numerous services in Student Development, CCSF Student Services Fairs, College Readiness Scholarship Program, Richard Goldman Scholarship Program and Basic Skills Book Loan Program to name a few.  Mrs. Brown has also played a key role in Bridge to Success/FRISCO Day/SFUSD counseling activities for over 4 years.  She also participates and is a member on various College Committees and community organizations.


Monica McCarthy

Monica McCarthy

A.A., City College of San Francisco; B.A., M.S., San Francisco State University

Monica Mc Carthy was a former CCSF student prior to earning her B.A. and M.S at San Francisco State. Her heart does indeed belong to San Francisco and the CCSF community. To this day, she continues to take classes at CCSF to broaden her knowledge and to have greater insight about the classes CCSF offers. Her educational philosophy is based on the belief that all students can be successful with the right support and encouragement and that education is about making possibilities come true. She approaches the counseling session from a whole person perspective and with the idea that getting to know the student’s personal goals and aspirations are a necessary step in helping a student to craft their educational and life plan.

Monica works with all types of counseling goals including Certificate, Degree, Transfer, and life-long learning objectives and looks to weave those goals into an organized and comprehensive plan that students can use to move their life forward. Monica works with all students and is also a counselor in the VETS Office and advises for the Fire Science, DMI, and LGBT programs. Monica is also an identified LGBT counselor. She is especially committed to help foster equity among all people especially those disenfranchised whether by race, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, ability, or age.

Outside of school Monica can be found raising her three children with her partner and she enjoys taking classes, reading, cooking, and travelling.

To her point of view, George Washington Carver said it best when he said:

“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.”

Herving Valiente

Cynthia Obenchain (International Student Coordinator)

B.A., M.A., San Francisco State University

Jack Sparks

Jack Sparks       

A.A./Sociology: San Diego Mesa College; B.A.-English: San Diego State University; M.A./Counseling: San Diego State University

Jack has been a counselor at CCSF since 1998. He has also taught several sections of LERN 50 & LERN 52B.

It is his philosophy to always put the students and their rights and goals first, to empower them and serve as their advocate when necessary. To that end, in 2004, he originated the firstCCSF Student Services Fair which has since become an annual event.

He also originated the idea of a Student Counseling Information kiosk which can now be found in Conlan Hall outside room E-205. In addition, Mr. Sparks has been instrumental in providing addtional signage to help students better navigate the Ocean campus.

He is involved in the Transfer Issues Committee, Grading Policies Commitee, the Communications Subcommittee and the Financial Aid Appeals Board.

Mr. Sparks is a member of FACC and also supports: Friends of the Library, World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, charitywater, and other charitable organizations.

In his leisure time, he enjoys playing guitar and singing, camping, golf and hiking.

Jack Sugawara

Jack Sugawara/ Transfer Counseling

AA in Social Science (Los Angeles City College)
BA in Sociology (San Francisco State University)
MS in Counseling (San Francisco State University)

Josephine Ubungen

Josephine Ubungen (Career Center Coordinator)

B.A., M.S., San Francisco State Unviersity

Josephine focuses on Career Counseling and teaches career classes, and conducts career and job search presentations and workshops.  She also coordinates, organizes and presents career/job fairs, and on-campus recruitment events.


Nancy Vargas

Nancy E Vargas

B.A. Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, San Francisco State University
B.A. La Raza Studies, San Francisco State University
M.A. Counseling Psychology, Santa Clara University, CA


What Nancy loves most about working in a community college is that students are there to make a change in their lives whether for job training, transfer to a university, change in careers, or to prepare to re-enter the job market. Change brings opportunities. As a counselor, she has a chance to help others discover their strengths and develop self-confidence in the process of attaining their goals.

She has worked as a counselor at CCSF  since 2007, but her experience includes community college counseling at other colleges since 1989. In addition to counseling students, she teaches LERN 52B, serves as the CCSF Bridge to Success Project Manager, was appointed to the Curriculum Committee and  was past Co-Chair of the AB 540 Task Force. She is a bilingual/bicultural counselor in English and Spanish and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. In her leisure time, she loves the arts, dancing, gourmet cooking, running, traveling and reading.

Grace Hom

Grace Hom/ Director-Transfer Center; general counselor