Rev. Dr. James McDonald, M.Div., Ph.D.

President of the Seminary, Professor of Faith and Public Life


Denomination: Presbyterian

Inaugurated in 2012, Rev. Dr. James McDonald became San Francisco Theological Seminary’s 11th president in 2012. For 13 years prior to the beginning of his tenure at SFTS, McDonald, an ordained Presbyterian minister, worked for Bread for the World, a faith-based advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., that urges national legislators to end hunger. McDonald managed day-to-day operations, spearheaded fund-raising, and focused on advocacy and strategic efforts to build a broad movement against hunger and poverty. With a Ph.D. in international relations from American University, McDonald led efforts to secure debt relief for the world’s poorest countries. After receiving Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees from Princeton University and Union Theological Seminary in New York, respectively, McDonald worked in pastoral ministry for 15 years. He was associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, Indiana, and then served Tabernacle United Church in Philadelphia from 1980-1990. Throughout his career, McDonald has shown a deep passion for education that makes a difference. He was an adjunct faculty member at American and George Washington universities for nearly a decade, teaching courses on world politics, foreign policy and Latin America.

Rev. Dr. Jana Childers

Dean of the Seminary, Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Homiletics & Speech Communication


Denomination: Presbyterian

Rev. Dr. Jana Childers is a long-time professor of Homiletics and Speech-Communication at SFTS, and is in her second term serving as Dean of the Seminary, a position she initially held from 2002-2009. Childers earned a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union and a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. Childers is an internationally known preacher and popular conference speaker. She was featured on the Chicago PBS show Thirty Good Minutes and the Great Preachers television series. Additionally, Childers has written for, edited, and contributed to many books and articles on the art of preaching, including the award-winning Birthing the Sermon: Women Preachers on Creative Process.

Dr. David Behrs

Vice President for Enrollment Management

Dr. David “Dave” G. Behrs holds a Ph.D. in counseling and student development from American University, a M.S. in counseling and student personnel from Shippensburg University, and a B.S. in history and social science from Elizabethtown College. (Elizabethtown College recently recognized Dave with the Distinguished Alumni Award—Educate for Service for Professional Achievement in 2008.) Dave has most recently been employed as the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at Clarion University of Pennsylvania where he enabled a re-engineered enrollment management system that significantly increased both applications and deposits.

Dave also served as the 15th president of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana. Prior to his tenure at SMWC, Dave served as both the associate provost for university initiatives and the vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at Dominican University. He brings more than 30 years of higher education experience to the Seminary and is currently pursuing his Masters of Divinity at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Dave has been married to Maureen for 35 years and has two daughters, Beth and Emily.

Mike Cairns

Vice President for Finance & Operations, CFO


Denomination: Episcopalian

Mike Cairns brings 30 years of experience in Finance and Operations. Mike was CFO and Vice President for Finance and Administration at Saybrook University, a 600-student, nonprofit graduate school rooted in the humanistic psychology movement.

Mike grew up in Scotland and emigrated to the United States in 1979 to attend the University of Hartford, where he earned his B.A. in Business Administration and Accounting. He received an M.B.A. from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. For the past 15 years, Mike has worked in executive level positions including starting his own consulting company in 2008. He has taught as an adjunct professor in accounting and finance at College of Marin since 2009 and has been a volunteer coach on two Marin youth soccer leagues.

Rev. Scott Clark, M.Div., J.D.

Associate Dean of Student Life and Chaplain

Denomination: Presbyterian

As Associate Dean of Student Life and Chaplain, Scott leads the Seminary’s worship life, coordinates the community’s pastoral care, and leads the Seminary’s student services team. Scott previously worked with SFTS’ Program in Christian Spirituality and its Clinical Pastoral Education Program. Scott preaches regularly in Bay Area churches, and has worked at local and national levels advocating for the full inclusion of all people in the life of the church. Scott received his Master of Divinity from SFTS in 2009. He holds Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Alabama. Before attending seminary, Scott practiced law in Birmingham, AL, working primarily on cases involving constitutional law and employment discrimination. He has served as adjunct instructor and co-director of the Judicial Internship Program at the University of Alabama School of Law.

Rev. Floyd Thompkins, M.Div.

Director of the Center for Innovation in Ministry at SFTS

We are pleased to welcome Rev. Floyd Thompkins as the first Director of the SFTS Center for Innovation in Ministry.

Rev. Thompkins served as a dean and chaplain at two world-class institutions, Stanford and Princeton universities. He developed unique, highly effective programs to empower underserved teenage youth and young adults in urban and rural areas—in East Palo Alto, CA and rural South Georgia. He led Antioch Baptist Church, the oldest African American Church in San Jose, CA, and was the Education and Administrative Pastor of Covenant Christian Church in Douglas, GA.

As Associate Dean of Memorial Church at Stanford University, Rev. Thompkins founded Black Church, the largest multi-cultural religious gathering on the Stanford campus. He also implemented a special freshman support system still being used as a base academic support program. In Georgia, he was executive director of the Bower Fund and with Youth Empowerment Today, organizations dedicated to mentoring at-risk youth through middle school, high school, and into college. He is a curriculum writer and a published author with several books to his credit.

His awards include the Presidential Award for Community Service from President Bill Clinton, The Benjamin E. Mays Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Edward G. Howel Preaching Award from Princeton Theological Seminary.

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