Betty Jeanne Rueters-Ward

Visiting Assistant Professor of Transformative Leadership


My Starr King journey began as a student, helping pioneer the school’s Master of Arts in Social Change program. I’ve served on the adjunct faculty since 2007 and the advising faculty since 2014, teaching courses on leadership, community organizing, education/pedagogy, functional theology, religious-secular coalition building, social change theory, multigenerational ministry, and more. Three things that distinguish my current teaching approach:

  • Linking theory, reflection and action – within and beyond the classroom
  • Customizable curricula that engage students’ unique passions, interests and goals
  • Multi-faceted, interactive online courses that bring virtual learning to life

My own graduate research centered on “Personal Sustainability in Social Movements” and “Constructive Theologies for Mental and Spiritual Health,” and those seminary studies have been integral to my work beyond the academy. For example, while serving as a fellow for the national Young Nonprofit Professionals Network and building their strategy for leadership development, published my reflections on “Rethinking Work Culture and Complexifying Self Care in the Nonprofit Sector”.

Beyond my faculty role at Starr King, I am a social change practitioner whose work has included ministry, community organizing, public speaking, writing, coaching, teaching/training, fundraising, and program management – in organizations spanning the non-profit, educational, religious, philanthropic, and socially responsible business sectors. I drive spiritually-rooted social change through capacity building and by developing effective, sustainable leaders of all ages, with the goal of activating people, organizations and communities in pursuit of the common good. More information about my work can be found at

I’m grateful for my religiously vibrant and diverse upbringing, and having served both as a religious professional and volunteer lay leader. Presently, I sing in the gospel choir at Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village of New York, NY, and attend Grace Episcopal Church near my home in Brooklyn. During the 2015-2016 year, I look forward to serving part-time on the ministerial transition team of All Souls Church in Manhattan, while continuing my faculty and consulting work.

When asked by my German relatives about my decision to attend and teach at a seminary, I expressed it this way: “Dieser Weg ermöglichte mir, meine tiefste Menschlichkeit einzuleben.” Or in English: “This path enabled me to live into my deepest humanity.”