Meet the Team

For general questions and office information please contact online@southern.edu or call 423.236.2087.

Gus Martin, PhD, Director
423.236.2083 : gusmartin@southern.edu
Gus is a Walden University graduate, where he earned his PhD in Educational Technology. He also attended Aquinas College earning his degree of Master's in Education and Universidad Adventista del Plata in Argentina, pursuing a degree in Science of Education. Gus has many years of experience as an educator, administrator, and technology coordinator. He is passionate about the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the importance that distance education brings to the needs of our society.

Polina Kadatska, PhD, Curriculum Development Specialist
423.236.2084 : kadatskap@southern.edu
Originally from Ukraine, Polina received her Ph.D. in Educational/Instructional Technology from University of Missouri – St. Louis. She loves working with faculty on designing interactive, student-centered courses. Polina has always had a passion for education and views it as one of the main contributors to empowerment. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling the world on a budget, volunteering for community-based projects, and cooking international cuisine, but most of all she thrives on having heartfelt conversations over a cup of tea (a Russian-Ukrainian tradition).

Greg Merchant, eClass and Classroom Technology Support
423.236.2086 : gmerchant@southern.edu
Greg has provided support in the field of technology since 2000. For the last six years he has been instrumental in developing and managing educational technology for Adventist educational institutions. Before working in Adventist education Greg managed information technology in both the banking and health care industries. In 2001 Greg earned his bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications Management from DeVry University.

Amanda Orozco, Administrative Assistant/Academic Advisor
423.236.2087 : amandag@southern.edu
Amanda is an alum of Southern Adventist University’s School of Education and Psychology, having graduated with a BA in Spanish in 2011. Since then she has gained five years of classroom teaching experience working in K-12 both in the US and abroad. Amanda’s previous experience as well as her passion for online learning and educational technology has prepared her well for this role as she assists students and professors with online courses and takes care of administrative duties for the department.

Course Coaches

Course coaches are an integral to our processes here at the Online Campus and are an important part of our team!


Mindy Herman
Mindy is a Southern alum, graduating in 2005 with a BFA with an emphasis in painting. Mindy loves working with teachers and students of all ages as she is also a kindergarten teacher assistant at A.W. Spalding elementary school. When she is not working, Mindy enjoys spending time with her husband, Ryan, and three school-aged children. She also enjoys creating all types of art, directing her church choir, and helping with Southern's annual Sonrise Pageant as a scene director.

Cathleen Ordóñez
Cathleen Ordóñez received her psychology degree from Southern in 1994. Since then she and her husband Robert (also an alum who graduated in 1995) have traveled through many of the Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities throughout the U.S. After graduating from Southern Cathleen and Robert met again at Andrews University, where they were both working on their master’s degrees. After marrying in 1996 the couple began working for Andrews, Cathleen in Human Resources and Robert in the Computer Science Department. They served in similar positions in Columbia Union College (now WAU), Pacific Union College, and eventually in 2013, back to where it all began, here at Southern. After a career of over 20 years in Human Resources, most recently as HR Director for a local long-term care facility, she is excited to apply her experience organizing complex projects and her people skills in a new setting with the team at Online Campus. She is thrilled to be able to spend more time with her family, including son Matthew, who is 10 years old and goes to Spalding. Her hobbies include scrapbooking/crafting, growing flowers, decorating their home for the various seasons, reading, and listening to audiobooks.

Jessica Ordóñez
Jessica Ordóñez is currently a student at Carson-Newman University working towards her EdD in Leadership with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction. She holds a master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Marygrove College and a BSEd in Biology from Western Carolina University. She loves learning in the online environment and plans to use her doctorate to one day teach university courses online. Jessica was a high school science and math teacher for 16 years before deciding to pursue her passion for museum education. Since 2016, she has been a teacher at a children’s museum where she provides science and art learning experiences for kids in grades K-6. Jessica’s husband, Alfredo, is also a former teacher, and together they homeschool their three creative children. The entire family loves gardening and spending time with their dachshund and five guinea pigs.

Debra Maxwell
Debra Maxwell has a BS degree in education with an English major from Bowling Green State University and an MS degree in education with a specialization in secondary interdisciplinary learning strategies. She taught high school English for 21 years and was a high school instructional coach for three years.

Tammy Parks
Tamara is a Southern alum, graduating in 2004 with a BS in Elementary Education (Math and Science focus) and in 2008 with an MSEd in Curriculum and Instruction. Prior to joining Southern Online Campus, Tamara taught middle school math and science for Hamilton County schools. Having taken and assisted with teaching online courses, she works to provide support for professors and students alike. When she is not working, Tamara stays busy spending time with her husband, Brian, and four very energetic children.

Frantz Philossaint
Frantz earned a degree in Network Communications from DeVry University and has provide technology support from elementary all the way up to university level. He also has is master's degree in the same field. He loves giving support to students, teachers, and supporting staff. He has also taught technology at American InterContinental University and loves to engage students in learning new technologies.

Karina Savelio
Karina Savelio graduated from Andrews University (BA in Spanish '93) after completing two years of college at Universidad Adventista del Plata in Argentina (Riverplate Adventist University), her native country. She has worked as a translator and interpreter for many years. Most recently she has been an adjunct instructor of Spanish at Southern as well as teaching Spanish in several other places in the past. She brings with her the experience of having created online classes using Adobe Connect and Zoom. She is an avid supporter of Christian education at every level and is excited to see how online learning can connect people and bring them together. She loves to read, homeschool her children, and travel. Right now Barcelona tops her list of places she'd love to visit.

Mya Slocumb
Mya Slocumb graduated with a B.A. degree in history from Southern Adventist University in 2010. She then went on to get her Master’s degree in Global Affairs from the University of Denver. She currently lives in Ooltewah TN with her husband Devin and one year old son Micah.

Donna Vargas
Donna has a bachelor’s degree, with dual majors in Computer Information Systems and Business Administration from Andrews University, a master’s degree in Business Administration from DeVry University, and a Master of Science in Project Management from George Washington University. Her years of professional experience include 10+ years in Information Technology support and project management. For the past five years she has been working as an Online Coach here at Southern, primarily supporting professors in the preparation and delivery of online courses in the School of Business.

Deanna Walker
Deanna is an alum of Andrews University and holds a master’s degree in Audiology from Purdue University. She spent five years as an audiologist in Indiana and then became a stay-at-home mom to her two girls. Prior to joining Southern Online Campus, Deanna homeschooled her children and utilized many online programs in the process. She met her husband, Mark, at a mutual friend's wedding and they have been married for 18 years. Deanna recently obtained Online Science Labs Mastery Series Recognition of Mastery certification from OLC (Online Learning Consortium) and is looking forward to applying this knowledge to online courses at Southern.