News Release Details

EAC welcomes new faculty

Story Photo


EAC welcomes new faculty

By Lori Dugan

Thatcher, AZ—Eastern Arizona College recently welcomed four new faculty and members for the Fall 2014 semester.

Taz Brinkerhoff is a new instructor in the Allied Health Division. He is a registered nurse with nearly eight years of experience in a variety of health care settings that include intensive care, emergency, progressive care, medical/surgical, and most recently, flight/rotor settings. He is a flight registered nurse for Air Evac in Safford, and is a staff nurse in the medical/surgical ICU and emergency department at Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center (MGRMC). He has also been a clinical site instructor for EAC’s Nursing Program since August 2010.

Craig Hackett joins the Health and Physical Education Department as a sports medicine instructor. Hackett has been a certified athletic trainer for Road Runner Rehab and Wellness in Safford since April 1996. He has been the certified athletic trainer for several local school districts including Ft. Thomas, Pima, and Thatcher, and was the head athletic trainer for EAC from 2001-2005. Most recently, he has assisted with the EAC Sports Medicine Program in rehabilitation techniques and kinesio taping techniques. He is on the Think Tank Committee for Rehabilitative Techniques for the National Athletic Trainers Association and is a member of EAC’s Sports Medicine Advisory Board.

Steven Higginbotham is the new theatre instructor for the Fine Arts Division. He comes to EAC with extensive theatre arts experience as an educator, director, actor, choreographer, and vocalist. At Eastern Kentucky University he was an assistant professor in theatre arts and directed and choreographed the musical productions Man of La Mancha and directed the stage production of Crimes of the Heart. As a university teaching assistant at Florida State University, he coordinated an interdisciplinary collaboration between the School of Theatre, School of Dance, and College of Music to stage an updated version of A Soldier’s Tale.

Higginbotham was a long-term substitute teacher at Palo Verde Magnet High School in Tucson, from 2007-2009, and was drama director at Parma Senior High School in Parma, Ohio, from 1998-2002. He is skilled in trick roping/lariat spinning, puppetry and full body costume work, basic American Sign Language, and children’s theatre.

Pam Palka joins the Nursing Program as a nursing instructor. She has been a registered nurse for 20 years and has worked in many areas of nursing. She began her nursing career at Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center as a direct care nurse in the medical/surgical department. She worked at the Safford Care Center as an assistant director of nursing and then director of nursing for four years before moving back to MGRMC. She has worked in hospice and home health and is currently an RN for radiology, cardiology, and emergency department outpatient care. She has also been a nursing lab assistant for EAC’s Nursing Program.

Also joining the team at EAC is Don Eller, who will serve as the fine arts technician in the Fine Arts Auditorium. Eller comes to EAC from Arkansas State University-Beebe, where he was instructor of theatre and technical director for nine years. He was also a scenic designer, lighting designer, sound engineer, sound designer, stage combat instructor, director, and sometimes actor.

He has also worked as a master electrician, technical director, and lighting designer for Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre and Wagon Wheel Theatre, and for the historic outdoor theatre production of Horn in the West. At ASU, he was a building supervisor for the Owen Center Theatre.

He has been involved in numerous shows including The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Fantasticks, and West Side Story. Eller is also a certified actor-combatant in unarmed, small sword, rapier and dagger, broadsword, single rapier, and quarterstaff.

Michael Nagy joins the Athletic Department as an assistant football coach and head resident. Nagy coaches EAC’s quarterbacks and wide receivers. His previous coaching experience includes assistant football coach at Safford High School and assistant football coach at Western New Mexico University. At WMNU, while working on his master’s in educational leadership, he was the athletic field supervisor and took advantage of an athletic director internship. As a player, Nagy was a quarterback and designed and structured the offensive playbook.

For more information about EAC, visit, call us at 428-8270, or stop by weekdays from 8:30 am. to 4:30 p.m. -30-