Southwest Hires Director of Beloved Community Initiatives

Seminary of the Southwest
Posted Jul 5, 2022

The Rev. Valerie Mayo

Seminary of the Southwest (Southwest) announces the appointment of the Rev. Valerie Mayo as the inaugural Director of Beloved Community Initiatives at Southwest. Mayo begins in this newly created position on August 1, 2022.

“This post has been years on the making, and it shows,” said Mayo. “Not only in the faculty and staff hiring process, but also in the institution’s commitment of diversifying its student body, with the aim of cultivating more culturally sensitive leaders for our Church. I am inspired by the investments already demonstrated towards advancing God’s just mission of healing and reconciliation, and have been deeply moved by my encounters with the faculty and staff.  I am excited to become part of such a progressive and revolutionary team, and hope to learn and grow—and, share my gifts in support of our shared “life-long, life-wide and life-deep” Christian discipleship journey. Good things are happening in the Diocese of Texas! The Spirit is alive and well in Austin. I look forward to leaning in with the devoted Southwest team to further hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s People in the name of reconciliation, justice and service.”

Created this past year, the position of Director of Beloved Community Initiatives will play a leadership roles in several areas of community life at Southwest, most specifically in helping achieve the ‘Beloved Community’ goals outlined in Southwest’s current Strategic Plan. Mayo will work collaboratively with key members of Southwest leadership to utilize the Bertha Means Endowment to foster diversity in academic programming concerning both faculty and students. She will assist in implementing strategies to recruit diverse cohorts across all degree programs, coordinate the incorporation of principles of diversity, inclusion, and equity into policies and procedures, and help to ensure a regular cycle of communications that highlight racial justice initiatives, specialized academic programming, scholarship opportunities for minority students, and other areas pertaining to diversity and inclusion.

“Valerie’s passion for this mission and gift for building partnerships are two of the many gifts she brings to this work,” said the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Dean and President. “ I look forward to welcoming Valerie to Seminary of the Southwest.”

Mayo currently serves in the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky as the diocesan urban missioner, urban partnership convener, University of Louisville Episcopal Lutheran campus chaplain and priest-in-charge of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Louisville, Kentucky. She is a dismantling racism trainer and was appointed to serve on the diocesan Racial Healing Commission. For the past 2.5 years, Valerie has worked collaboratively with the Union of Black Episcopalians and TEC Sacred Ground team, developing best practices for Sacred Ground circles, with a particular emphasis on assessing the efficacy of the curriculum for Episcopalians of Color. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Saint Paul’s College; Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree from Duke University; Master’s of Divinity (MDiv) from Virginia Theological Seminary; and obtained her clinical pastoral education (CPE) certification from Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to seminary, Valerie provided case management services and system of care oversight for youth, families and adults within the mental health and substance use clinical settings, serving in various leadership capacities for over 15 years. She also served as an adjunct hospital chaplain at Duke Regional Hospital, in Durham NC, for nine years. A native of Virginia and a proud mother of two, she enjoys traveling and exploring historical sites.