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Michael ParmelyUpdates from Michael Parmely
Presidential Search Committee Chair

May 19, 2014

Update on Presidential Search

During the past few weeks we have been meeting with presidential candidates in search for the next President of Saint Paul.  Although God has blessed us with many rich conversations with inspiring people during this time, the committee has concluded that we need to continue our search.  While the Board of Trustees is developing a plan for providing interim leadership for the institution, I would ask that you consider recommending presidential candidates you feel share our vision for the future and have the unique combination of gifts that Saint Paul needs in its permanent President.  I also continue to ask for your patience, your prayers and your support as we continue our journey together.

May 7, 2014
Search Committee Update

The Search Committee wishes to thank all of the members of the Saint Paul family who have supported our efforts to identify the next President of the institution. The committee continues the hard work of discernment and will be in further dialog in the month of May with a candidate. I would ask for your continued prayers and patience as we proceed with these deliberations. 

April 10, 2014
Candidate Lecture: Tuesday April 15

Presidential candidate Dr. Karen Rucks will be speaking to the Saint Paul community about her vision for the seminary at 11:00 AM, Tuesday, April 15 in the large classroom downstairs, C041 (304), on the Resurrection campus. See a detailed CV below. Video conferencing connection with the Oklahoma City campus will be provided. The presentation will be followed by community meal and an open Q & A period devoted to questions you might have for Dr. Rucks. We hope you can join us for this event.

April 3, 2014
Candidate Lecture: Wednesday, April 9
Presidential candidate Dr. John Blackwell will be speaking to the Saint Paul community about his vision for the seminary at 11:00 AM, Wednesday, April 9 in the large classroom downstairs, C041 (304), on the Resurrection campus. See details in his CV below. Video conferencing connection with the Oklahoma City campus will be provided. The presentation will be followed by community meal and an open Q & A period devoted to questions you might have for Dr. Blackwell. We hope you can join us for this event.

March 28, 2014
Candidate Lecture: Tuesday, April 1
Our first candidate for President, Dr. Bruce Baxter, will be speaking to the Saint Paul community about his vision for the seminary at 11:00 AM, Tuesday, April 1 in the large classroom downstairs, C041 (304), on the Resurrection campus. Video conferencing connection with the Oklahoma City campus will be provided. The presentation will be followed by community meal and an open Q & A period devoted to questions you might have for Dr. Baxter. We hope you can join us for this event.

March 27, 2014
Hosting Final Candidates
The coming month at Saint Paul will be an exciting time as we host three candidates for President on our Greater Kansas City and Oklahoma City campuses. I wanted to give you the dates of their visits and a little background on our finalists for this position. Each candidate will start with a board dinner, then spend a full day in Kansas City and finally travel and spend a day on the Oklahoma City University campus.

March 31 - April 2
Dr. Bruce Baxter  (Click name to access CV) is currently Senior Pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church in Springfield, Missouri. Bruce received his MDiv degree from Asbury Theological Seminary and his PhD in Higher Education Administration from Saint Louis University. He was the founding pastor of SunRise United Methodist Church in O'Fallon, Missouri and, in that capacity, he helped launch another dynamic congregation. Dr. Baxter's doctoral dissertation work dealt with the online training of pastors. He has also served important positions in the Missouri Conference related to congregational development and the Board of Ordained Ministry and has taught in Saint Paul Course of Study.

April 8 - April 10
Dr. John Blackwell (Click name to access CV) currently serves as Vice President for Institutional Development at the University of Mount Olive in North Carolina. He received his DMin degree from Claremont School of Theology and his PhD degree in anthropology from Arizona State University. From 2005 to 2012, John served as Dean of Chapel at Kansas Wesleyan University. His ministries include senior pastor appointments in three different United Methodist churches and experience in pastoral training through his work in higher education, campus ministries and United Methodist Boards of Ordained Ministry. His close work with students has been a source of educational innovation and insight into best processes for learning.

April 14 - April 16
Dr. Karen Rucks *Click name to access CV) is currently Director of Grants Development for Quinsigamond Community College in Worcestor, Massachusetts. Karen received her MDiv and ThD degrees from Boston University School of Theology. Her expertise is in organizational management and ethics. She has worked extensively in the nonprofit world, where she has been an effective fundraiser through her work with faculty as a grant writer. In the private sector, Karen has worked with governing boards to build key partnerships and design and implement strategic plans that move organizations forward toward their goals. She served as Executive Director of the Council of Churches of Greater Springfield (Massachusetts) where she built an ecumenical 70-member organization devoted to helping the community and providing pastoral connections.

A detailed agenda for each of these visits will be available soon. We look forward to your participation as we discern together God's will for Saint Paul School of Theology.

March 18, 2014
Presidential Search Interviews of Semi-Finalists Completed

I am pleased to report that your Presidential Search Committee has completed our interviews of semi-finalists for the position of President and intend soon to extend invitations to finalists for campus visits. The committee was excited and inspired by our discussions with candidates and their visions for Saint Paul. Given the excellent field of applicants and the diversity of their professional experiences and skills, identifying those candidates whom we felt would best fit Saint Paul was a difficult challenge.

The next phase of our search will be extremely important as we all seek to assist candidates in discerning their calling to this important position. Shortly, we will be announcing the finalists and the dates of their campus visits, both in Kansas City and Oklahoma City. I ask that you help with your presence and prayers, both for the institution and the candidates, during this time that we all walk together on this exciting journey.


January 13, 2013
Advertising for Presidential Position
This week we began advertising the position of President of Saint Paul School of Theology through a number of online higher education job postings. We invite your nominations for this position, which is also described on the Saint Paul website. Links on that web page contain a detailed presidential profile and provide the means for making confidential inquiries and nominations as well as submitting application materials. The search committee plans to review applications throughout the month of February with the anticipated appointment date for a new president of July 1, 2014.Thank you all for your support and prayers.


December 23, 2013
Search Firm Chosen and Community Survey Results
With the approval of the Board, the search committee has engaged the services of Ms. Jan Asnicar, Vice President of EFL Search, to assist us in the search process. Jan has a long history of helping institutions of higher education identify and recruit candidates for senior leadership positions. Over the holidays, we will be developing a position announcement and presidential profile, selection criteria to guide the committee, and the processes necessary to effectively recruit and review candidates.

Sometime over the next few weeks you should receive an invitation to submit names of contacts and candidates for the position. This information will be appearing as well on the Saint Paul website along with regular updates on the status of the search. As always, your continued prayers for this undertaking and the future of Saint Paul are an important part of the search.

Community Survey Results
First let me begin by thanking all of you who have participated in the various forums that have been held to listen to your hopes and aspirations for the new President of Saint Paul School of Theology. We received over 140 responses and will continue to collect your preferences and comments as we move forward. The following are the most common responses we have received to the four questions asked in the survey.

Leadership qualities you sought in a new President:
  • Stabilize finances through expanding educational programs and fundraising
  • Make difficult decisions in a new developing environment
  • Think strategically and implement plans effectively

Attributes of Saint Paul the new president should work to preserve:
  • A spiritual and academic blend of teaching that integrates theory and practice as a core value
  • A mindset of collaboration at all levels that helps us live out the mission of the church
  • A deep personal faith and commitment to social justice that inspires students and faculty

Greatest challenges Saint Paul School of Theology faces going forward:
  • Achieving financial stability
  • Attracting students to a new innovative model of theological education
  • Maintaining excellent faculty equipped for a multi-site collaborative model
Strongest marketing attributes of the seminary:
  • An innovative model of theological education -- collaborations with Church of the Resurrection and Oklahoma City University
  • An excellent faculty
  • Being part of God's new thing: a new campus, and new model of theological education

There were a number of specific comments that were much appreciated by the committee and will help guide our selection process. Typical of the hopeful tone of these responses were the following:

"Our president should reflect the character, hope, and innovation of Saint Paul. This is a school that is not willing to stay where they are but actively seeks the vision of God not only in education but also in kingdom building."

"This is probably the most important decision in the history of Saint Paul. I will hold each member of the Search Committee in my daily prayers."


Greater Kansas City Campus
4370 West 109th Street, Suite 300
Overland Park, KS 66211
Phone number: 913-253-5000
Fax number: 913-253-5075
Oklahoma City University Campus
2501 North Blackwelder Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
Phone number: 405-208-5757
Fax number: 405-208-6046