After robust discourse and prayerful discernment, the Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to appoint Dr. J. Derek McNeil as President of The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology. Dr. McNeil was appointed as Provost in 2018 and stepped into the role of Acting President in February 2019.
“Dr. McNeil brings a rich background in leadership to who The Seattle School is and an important perspective on who The Seattle School is called to be. Derek leads with poise, discernment, vulnerability, and faithfulness. The Board has full confidence that Dr. McNeil will be a courageous, creative leader in building a bridge into the future,” stated Mike Anderson, Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Dr. McNeil has a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary. Prior to his tenure at The Seattle School, Dr. McNeil served as faculty in the PsyD program at Wheaton College Graduate School for over 15 years.
Dr. McNeil has worked as a clinician in private practice, a diversity advisor, an organizational consultant, and an administrator. His research, writing, and speaking have focused on issues of ethnic and racial socialization, the role of forgiveness in peacemaking, the identity development of African-American males, and marital intimacy. He has written chapters in The Black Family: Past, Present, and Future (1991),Men to Men: Voices of African American Males (1996), Why Psychology Needs Theology (2005), This Side of Heaven: Race ethnicity and Christain faith (2007), Reluctant Integration (2010), and Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving communities into unity, wholeness and justice. (2016). His teaching has also included coursework on Social, Cultural, and Spiritual Foundations of Mental Health; Family Systems Therapy; Group Theory; Therapy; and Leadership.
Since joining the leadership team at The Seattle School in 2009 as Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. McNeil has been integral to our pursuit of regional accreditation, the reimagining of our common curriculum, and securing over $1 million in grant funding.
Dr. Dan Allender, Founding President and Professor of Counseling Psychology, also shared his delight in Dr. McNeil’s appointment: “When I think about what Derek brings, it’s the perfect interplay of text.soul.culture. He is a brilliant psychologist. He has richly studied and loves the word of God. He has engaged with the realities of the intersection of faith, identity, race, and culture. In a deeply divided culture—politically and relationally—Derek embodies the goodness of having suffered deeply and hoped deeply. He has lived out so much of what is core to the School’s calling—to be a healing presence in a deeply divided world.”
Details about formally installing Dr. McNeil as president are forthcoming. As a community, we are privileged to have Dr. McNeil step into a role he has been faithfully stewarding and we look forward to his continued direction and leadership in the years to come.