The Heartbeat of Auburn.

Meet the dedicated individuals of Auburn Theological Seminary who form the backbone of our institution, bringing passion, expertise, and a shared commitment to transformative leadership. Explore the diverse and visionary minds that drive Auburn's mission forward on Leadership page.

Board of Directors

The Rev. Dr. Derrick W. McQueen (Board Chair)
Kim Anderson
Jocelyn Cunningham (Secretary)
The Rev. Dr. Janet Edwards
Katie Golieb
Jennifer Jones Austin
Nate Mahrer (Treasurer)
Dr. Prabhjot Singh
George Suttles
Eric Ward
Ellen Wingard
The Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson (Ex Officio)

Board Chair Emeriti

Mary D. Byron
The Rev. Mark Hostetter
Rabbi Peter Rubinstein
Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson
[email protected]
With her appointment as President in 2021, the Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson became the first Black woman and non-Presbyterian to lead Auburn Theological Seminary. With Rev. Jordan-Simpson’s leadership, Auburn Seminary is leaning forward in its mission to identify and strengthen leaders – from the pulpit to the public square – to build communities, bridge divides, pursue justice, and heal the world. Advancing a long-term view of social change, she is preparing Auburn to seed a thriving future with a new intergenerational focus on the formation of leaders the world needs.

Rev. Jordan-Simpson serves on the pastoral team of the Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to her appointment at Auburn, Rev. Jordan-Simpson was the 26th Executive Director of Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR USA); and has led the Children’s Defense Fund – New York, Girls Inc. of New York City, was Executive Vice President of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.

Rev. Dr. Jordan-Simpson earned the Executive Level Certificate from the Columbia Business School Institute for Not-for-Profit Management; the Doctor of Ministry Degree (with distinction) from Drew Theological School; Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary; and BA from Fisk University. She is the immediate past President of American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York.
Rev. Patrick Reyes, Ph.D. 
[email protected]
A Chicano writer, theologian, and executive leader, Patrick B. Reyes, Ph.D., Auburn Theological Seminary’s Dean, and the bestselling and award-winning author of The Purpose Gap and Nobody Cries When We Die. Prior to joining Auburn, he worked in administration in higher education and the faith-based non-profit sector. He served at the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE), providing strategy and direction for FTE’s diverse programs, grants, and teams supporting the next generation of pastoral leaders. There he was the first Latino/Chicano director to lead the historic fellowships supporting scholars of color. He hosted the Sound of the Genuine podcast and spearheaded research and resource design.

Patrick provides leadership on several boards in theological and higher education, publications, and the nonprofit sector, supporting the next generation of Black, Indigenous, and Chicano spiritual and cultural leaders. He is a current board director for the American Academy of Religion and serves as the Co-Dean of the Freedom Seminary for the Children’s Defense Fund. He is a past board president of the Religious Education Association. 

In the last decade, he has been recognized for his service and scholarship by Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Boston University, Drew University, Duke Leadership, Children’s Defense Fund, Hispanic Theological Initiative, Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy, and Raices Latinas, among others. Patrick was recently inducted into the Morehouse College MLK Jr. Collegium of Scholars. The Council of Independent Colleges NetVUE selected The Purpose Gap as the Big Read for 2022-2023. Patrick holds a doctorate and masters from Claremont School of Theology, an M.Div. from Boston University School of Theology, and is a proud graduate of California State University, Sacramento. He lives on ancestral land in New Mexico, embracing the cultural and religious traditions and communities he and his family inherit and belong to.
Rev. Dr. Shannon Daley-Harris
Associate Dean
[email protected]
The Rev. Dr. Shannon Daley-Harris is an experienced faith-based child advocacy leader who served the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) for more than thirty years, as CDF’s Religious Affairs Director and then as senior religious adviser. She created the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths in 1992, conceived, launched, and directed CDF’s Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry in 1995, authored annual multifaith National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths resources, facilitated women’s spiritual retreats, collaborated with CDF founder and president Marian Wright Edelman on various projects, and guided CDF’s partnership with the faith community from the national to the local level.

Shannon also served as a consultant to Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. and Healing the Nations Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Covering Kids campaign.

As the director of Just Love Families from January 2022-December 2023, Shannon worked collaboratively with nonprofits to develop strategic plans, grant proposals, and compelling resources to engage the public in effective programs and policy advocacy to create positive change for marginalized children and families. She was awarded an individual research grant from the Children's Spirituality Research & Innovation Hub at Union Presbyterian Seminary for “Nurturing Children with a Heart for Justice,” a research project to explore how young children from birth to age eight develop an understanding of and commitment to justice. Recent engagements included preaching at the American Baptist Women’s Ministries National Conference, “Breaking Down the Walls that Divide Us;” speaking at SARI (Student Alliance with Refugees and Immigrants) fundraising dinner; preaching at the Princeton University Chapel (August 27, 2023, and June 19, 2022); and leading webinars on “Sustaining Sisterhood” and “Gathering Our Tools for Building Trustworthy Community” for American Baptist Women’s Ministries.

Shannon began her career as a teacher at the Newgrange School in Trenton, NJ, serving children with learning disabilities, where she developed a conflict resolution curriculum. She then lived and worked in Belfast, Northern Ireland, serving children and families in areas hit especially hard by the Troubles and with Corrymeela Reconciliation Centre.

Shannon’s dozens of publications include the forthcoming co-authored the forthcoming Just Love Story Bible with Dr. Jacqui Lewis (Beaming Books, 2025), Hope for Our Future: Answering God’s Call to Justice for Our Children (Westminster John Knox Press, 2016), Our Day to End Poverty: 24 Ways You Can Make a Difference with Jeffrey Keenan (Berrett-Koehler, 2007), Holding Children in Prayer: An Advent Devotional, and Welcome the Child: A Child Advocacy Guide for Churches (with Kathleen A. Guy). Shannon was a contributor to Let Your Light Shine: Mobilizing for Justice with Children and Youth; God’s Transforming Justice: A Lectionary Commentary; Feasting on the Gospels; Gen2Gen: Sharing Jesus Across the Generations; Hope for Children in Poverty: Profiles and Possibilities, and other books. She edited Thus Far on the Way: Toward a Theology of Child Advocacy by the Rev. Dr. Eileen W. Lindner. 

Shannon earned her B.A. from Brown University, magna cum laude, her Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary, summa cum laude, and her Doctor of Ministry from Drew University with a dissertation “Sustaining Sisterhood: The Power of Spiritual Retreats for Women Leaders in the Children’s Movement.” She is ordained as a minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Shannon is the mother of two adult children and lives in Princeton, NJ, with her husband Sam, founder of RESULTS, co-founder of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, founder of Civic Courage and author of Reclaiming Our Democracy. Shannon earned her B.A. from Brown University, magna cum laude, her Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary, summa cum laude, and her Doctor of Ministry from Drew University with a dissertation “Sustaining Sisterhood: The Power of Spiritual Retreats for Women Leaders in the Children’s Movement.” She is ordained as a minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Shannon is the mother of two adult children and lives in Princeton, NJ, with her husband Sam, founder of RESULTS, co-founder of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, founder of Civic Courage and author of Reclaiming Our Democracy.
Lisa Anderson
Director of Leadership
[email protected]
Lisa Anderson is the Director of Leadership at Auburn Seminary. Lisa creates spaces where faith/spirit-rooted leaders find rest, respite, and retreat. Her work also includes intersectional organizing, bridging the divide between theology and activism, and the creation and curation of worship and liturgical resources.

Lisa is the founding director of the Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle (STLC), a fellowship program whose mission is to make the ordinary care of the bodies, minds, and spirits of Black and Brown women a priority in their own lives and within the social justice spaces where Black women leaders disproportionately serve. STLC equips Black and Brown women leaders, seeking to advance movements for justice within their communities, through a methodology that incorporates a vigorous and spiritually grounded practice of self-care as a part of a leader’s public witness.

Before coming to Auburn, Lisa designed seminars on national and international affairs through the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. There she helped lay leaders connect their professions of Christian faith to concrete and spiritually grounded activism for social change and transformation. Lisa was also a leader and facilitator at Marble Collegiate Church, working specifically on behalf of the Women’s Ministry, Young Adult Ministry and the Senior Fellowship. Lisa has worked on issues of food justice and as an advocate for poor women and children through the United Way-sponsored Dutchess Outreach in Upstate New York where she supervised a volunteer staff of over one hundred.

Lisa is a graduate of Vassar College and holds a Master of Divinity and Master of Philosophy degree from Union Theological Seminary. She has taught courses in black, womanist, feminist and LGBTQ theologies, ethics and liturgy. She is a regular contributor to several blogs, and journals including the Journal of Theology & Sexuality, and the book, Women, Spirituality, and Transformative Leadership.
Dr. Erica M. Ramirez
Director, Center for Research
[email protected]
Dr. Erica M. Ramirez is the Director Auburn’s Center for Research. Before joining Auburn, she was the Richard B. Parker Assistant Professor of Wesleyan Thought and Heritage at Portland Seminary in Portland, Oregon. A rising star in the field of U.S. Latinx religion, and a scholar of Pentecostalism, she brings to the Auburn team a vital sociological imagination and a deep commitment to research and writing that troubles the waters and heals the world.

Ramirez holds the Ph.D. in Sociology of Religion, having studied at Drew University under the late Otto Maduro, a leading sociologist of his generation. Her dissertation revisited the Azusa Street mission revival through the frame of the maternal divine, working with themes of revolution, disruption, and the carnivalesque. She holds the M.A. in the History of Christianity from Wheaton College and the B.A. in Counseling and Psychology from Southwestern Assemblies of God University. With broad interests in religion, contemporary politics, and culture, Ramirez is particularly interested in “how radical religious traditions present as a challenge to and resource against social oppression.”

Bridging popular and scholarly audiences, Ramirez co-wrote an article on Pentecostals and Donald Trump for the Washington Post and has contributed scholarly articles to Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, Canadian Journal of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity, and Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies. She has presented academic papers to the Society for Pentecostal Studies, Association for the Sociology of Religion, and the Red de Investigadores de Fenomenos Religiosos Annual Meeting. She is a Hispanic Theological Initiative scholar and has been a fellow of both the Forum for Theological Exploration and the prestigious Louisville Institute.

She is a fifth-generation Texan, with deep roots in San Antonio. Ramirez enjoys music, hiking, and all things pop culture. With her husband Chris, she has three children: Judah, Julia, and Camilla.
Elsie Barnhart
Program Manager
[email protected]
Elsie Barnhart comes to Auburn Theological Seminary after serving as a program manager at the Forum for Theological Exploration for 13 years. At Auburn she supports the team in application processes, event planning, and logistics. She spends her free time reading, working puzzles, and wrangling twin 16 year olds with her husband, in Atlanta.
Blamo Jaurey-Briggs
Director of Development
[email protected]
Blamo Jaurey serves as Auburn’s Director of Development. Blamo has been with Auburn for eight years, beginning her tenure in 2015, in the role of Philanthropy Associate. Along the way, she has worked to establish and deepen relationships with Auburn’s donor base, which is inclusive of the Auburn Board, Lives of Commitment Committee, and President’s Global Forum members. Blamo has grown and pivoted with the organization, and now works closely with Auburn’s President to cultivate donors, direct fundraising strategies, and manage Auburn’s Development team.

Previously, Blamo worked at All Souls Church where she served as assistant to the Sr. Minister, and also provided development office support, oriented new members and families, and coordinated special events. She has also served as an administrative assistant to the President at Ronald McDonald House New York. Blamo holds a B.A. in English with a minor in Media Studies from Hunter College and looks forward to pursuing a graduate degree in nonprofit management and fundraising.
Mary Beth Guyther
Grants Manager
[email protected]
Mary Beth is a longtime social justice advocate and nonprofit professional. She has worked for several nonprofits, both on Long Island and in NYC, as a development director and public relations manager. She has also worked as a program officer for a community foundation. Most recently, she has worked as a program manager for a coalition of youth serving agencies, advocating for increased state funding for these organizations. She has also served as the social justice coordinator and communications administrator for the Long Island Area Council of Unitarian Universalist congregations, an umbrella group of the 11 UU congregations on Long Island. Through this position, she managed social justice programming for the congregations, coordinated organizing efforts and congregational participation in rallies and demonstrations, drafted advocacy letters, and shared information and resources among the congregations.

Mary Beth has 25 years’ experience in social justice advocacy, nonprofit management, community relations, and fundraising. Throughout her nonprofit career, she has partnered with diverse stakeholders and worked with a wide range of concerned parties – community activists, faith leaders, funders, volunteers, educators, government officials, board members, and nonprofit leaders. She is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington and has been active there on the social justice and Sunday program committees. She also helped found the Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative, an interfaith model for providing shelter for the homeless at faith communities during the coldest winter months.

Mary Beth lives in Huntington with her partner Mike and their two dogs.
Malcolm Ezennia
Director of Finance and Administration
[email protected]
Malcom's bio coming soon!
Dewerys Vasquez
Data and Technology Manager
[email protected]
Dewerys Vasquez is Auburn Seminary’s Data and Technology Manager. He is responsible for the database needs and supporting all areas of technology. That includes managing Salesforce (Auburn’s database and CRM) to ensure data accuracy and integrity, etc., through the implementation of strong internal processes.

Dewerys holds a degree in Network and Communications Management and is currently working on an Advanced Diploma in Cyber Security at NYU. He brings several years as an Information Technology Assistant and Systems Administrator to his work to make sure that Auburn’s Staff and the Leaders they serve have all the technological tools they need to do their work more efficiently, thus contributing to Auburn’s institutional goals and mission, ready at hand and working well.

When he’s not keeping Auburn up and running, you can find Dewerys going for long runs or bike rides around his home in the Bronx. The rest of his time is spent reading books or spending time with his wife and two children, exploring their neighborhood, the city, and the world.

The Catholic church is a cornerstone of Dewerys’ spiritual practice but his mother remains his greatest religious teacher.
Chris Yamamoto
Executive Assistant
[email protected]
Chris brings her eclectic work experience to manage and coordinate the complex responsibilities held by the President and Dean and provides administrative assistance to the Senior Vice President. In addition to her direct role under the President, Chris works closely with Strategic Philanthropy to coordinate meetings with current and future prospects.

She is the former Director of Operations for Koshiluck Corporation, an overseas medical device manufacturer. Additionally, she was the former sole production staff to the designer of Ferrare With Co., an interior accessories design company owned by Cristina Ferrare. Most recently, she was the General Manager of Pisticci Restaurant.

Chris received her B.A. in Music Theory and Performance from Santa Clara University and her M.A. in Opera Performance from Manhattan School of Music.

Installation Message from President Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson, June 2024

475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1800, New York, NY 10115
Office: 212-662-4315 | [email protected]
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