Faculty

Program Director | Rev. Ruben Ortiz

MTS, Palmer Theological Seminary
BA, Palmer Theological Seminary

Rev. Rubén Ortiz has served in ministry for 30 years focusing on leadership development, youth ministry, church planting, and community development.

He currently serves as Director of National Programs at Esperanza and oversees the Barrio Youth Initiative which includes development and management of the Christian Ministry degree program with an emphasis in Youth Ministry in partnership with Esperanza College. Previous to this he was Director of Hispanic Engagement for the national headquarters of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA).

Rev. Ortiz served as City Coordinator for the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative in Philadelphia, leading a cohort of Pastors and Youth Ministers through an intensive training, developing communities of practice, and mentoring. He planted Iglesia Del Barrio (IDB) and served as its Senior Pastor for 10 years. During part of this time, he was a Project Director at Esperanza, directly responsible for helping build the capacity of over 100 faith and community-based organizations. He managed Communities United to Empower Youth, a program to prevent gang activity, reduce youth violence, child abuse, and neglect.

Mayra Picos-Lee

DMin (Marriage and Family Ministry): Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary
AAMFT Licensure (American Association of Marriage & Family Therapists)
Council for Relationships, Philadelphia, PA
MDiv, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary
BA in Business Administration: Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas
BA in Psychology: Universidad del Noreste

Dr. Mayra Picos-Lee, a native of Mexico, teaches pastoral counseling at Esperanza College and Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University. She holds a D.Min. in Marriage and Family Ministry and M.Div. from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is a marriage and family therapist licensed by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). As a Mexican immigrant, Dr. Picos-Lee is keenly interested in issues of immigration, and through her teaching experience at Eastern University has contributed to the broadening of students’ perspectives on immigration and other issues that affect our ability to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Dr. Picos-Lee maintains a counseling practice as a marriage and family therapist serving immigrants, bicultural families, women, and other populations who have been historically disempowered.

Rodney Dewitt Robinson-Rogers 

Doctorate in Urban Transformational Leadership for the Global City, Bakke Graduate University
MDiv, focus: church and society, Princeton Theological Seminary 

Dr. Rodney DeWitt Robinson-Rogers is the senior pastor of Christ of Calvary Covenant Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Rogers work is to transform urban communities by supporting the development of urban leaders. He believes in the holistic vision of the Kingdom of God; which includes good health in body, soul, and spirit which builds healthy families and communities. He is the President of Covenant Leadership Academy, an institute that trains adults in outcome-based Christian education, discipleship, and principals of transformational leadership. He is the host of a weekly internet radio broadcast on LookUpRadio called Grace Points. His most recent publication Pavements, Daily Reflections for Christians on the Go continues to grow in popularity nationally and abroad.

He serves as an associate professor of practical theology and family studies at Bakke Graduate University teaching online courses to doctoral degree candidates globally. He also obtained his doctorate in urban transformational leadership for the global city at Bakke Graduate University and holds his master of divinity training at Princeton Theological Seminary focusing on church and society.

Melinda Sanchez

MA, City Planning, University of Pennsylvania 
BA, Urban and Environmental Studies, University of Pennsylvania

In August of 2015, Melinda Sanchez was appointed by the White House to serve as Special Assistant to the Regional Administrator for the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Mid-Atlantic Region. Prior to joining GSA she served as a National Programs Associate, Programs Director and Training Coordinator for Esperanza, Inc., one of the largest Hispanic Faith-Based Evangelical networks in the United States, based in Philadelphia, PA.

Her strong faith, love of the creative and performing arts as well as community, has led her to be actively involved in community development and ministry. She has worked and volunteered for organizations that work towards the rebuilding communities through structural and facade improvement projects, and recently completed a 5 year term as Commissioner for the Camden Redevelopment Agency and a 4-year term as Minister of Worship at the Family Christian Fellowship Church in Camden, NJ. She helped to establish a faith-based international summer program in Liberia to combat prostitution amongst girls and young ladies and led a development project for a local Christian theater company.