Rev. Dr. James McDonaldPresident of the Seminary, Professor of Faith and Public Life
A lifelong Presbyterian, Jim McDonald became San Francisco Theological Seminary’s 11th president in July 2011. He is Professor of Faith and Public Life.
Before coming to SFTS, Jim worked for 13 years at Bread for the World, a faith-based grassroots advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. that urges policymakers to reduce hunger in this country and around the world. In 1998, after completing a Ph.D. in International Relations from American University, he joined Bread for the World as an international policy analyst and led a broad legislative coalition that secured substantial debt relief for the world’s poorest countries. In 2000 he became Bread’s Vice President for Policy and Program, managing the organizations’ work on domestic and international policy issues, and their programs of advocacy, education and social change. In 2010 he became Bread’s Managing Director.
Previously Jim served as director of the Humphrey Fellowship Program at American University, and taught courses in world politics, U.S. foreign policy, and the international relations of Latin America at George Washington University and American University.
After receiving a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary (NYC) in 1975, Jim worked in pastoral ministry for 15 years, serving as associate pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, IN, (1975-1979) and pastor of Tabernacle United Church in Philadelphia, PA (1980-1990). While at Tabernacle, he led the congregation’s engagement in the Sanctuary Movement, a national effort by Jewish and Christian congregations to provide safe haven for undocumented refugees fleeing the violence in Central America.
Jim is married to Dean McDonald, also a Presbyterian minister. They have three children and four grandchildren.
Rev. Dr. Jana ChildersDean of the Seminary, Vice President for Academic Affairs Professor of Homiletics & Speech Communication
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.
Mike CairnsVice President for Finance & Operations, CFO
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.
Walter CollinsVice President of Advancement
Walter Collins brings more than 18 years of fundraising experience in a variety of senior leadership roles. Most recently, Collins served as Vice President of Advancement, Alumni Relations and Asset Management at Pacific Union College, where he led one of the first successful capital campaigns in College history, grew leadership and scholarship giving, and increased alumni participation in the annual campaign by over sixty percent. Prior to this appointment, Collins was executive director of the California Symphony Orchestra, where under his leadership the orchestra doubled its number of donors, increased ticket sales and reduced operating costs. The orchestra also received a National Endowment for the Arts award and a Getty Foundation/League of American Orchestras award for its Sound Minds program, a groundbreaking music education and tutoring program. Previously, Collins served as President and CEO of United Way of the Wine Country where he increased revenue and led the strategic transformation of United Way into the community impact model as the leading public policy and advocacy United Way in California. He began his management career as the executive director of the Redlands Symphony Orchestra in Southern California. In each of these positions, he has a solid record of notable achievements.
Collins holds a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and he lives in the Napa Valley with his wife Amy and their three children.
Rev. Scott ClarkChaplain and Dean of Students
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.
Liz HuntingtonVice President of Marketing & Communications
Liz Huntington is a marketing executive with over 25 years of leadership experience at national and international brands, as well as community involvement with a variety of local non-profit organizations. She is mission-driven, with a commitment to values-based organizations in both the for profit and nonprofit sectors.
Huntington has held leadership positions at paradigm-breaking national brands—Gardenburger, Birkenstock, Real Goods, Nutiva, and EO Products—focusing on health, transformation and vitality. Huntington joined the California solar industry in its infancy in 2007, launching integrated nationwide communications programs and stewarding the brand growth for one of the largest solar electric installers in the country, as well as managing North America for a $4B German manufacturer.
Concurrently, she has focused her community interests and volunteer board leadership around a variety of non-profits in environmental stewardship, integrative medicine, consciousness research and higher education: Saybrook Graduate School, the Institute for Health and Healing at California Pacific Medical Center, Restore Hetch Hetchy, San Anselmo Open Space Committee, and most recently the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). As a Director at the John B. Huntington Foundation, her experience grows in charitable giving, non-profit advancement and stewardship.
A fifth generation Californian, she is a member of the California Society of California Pioneers and Society of Fellows at the Huntington Library. Huntington holds a BA in History from the University of California, Berkeley, and has resided in San Anselmo for over 20 years. Her border collie keeps her on the trails and her son at Google keeps her on her toes.
Rev. Floyd ThompkinsVP Innovation and Online Education
Rev. Floyd 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.