Jill Oettinger


The 2016 Charles J. Cook Award in Servant Leadership

Jill Oettinger

Activist, community leader, visionary, people developer, change agent.

When you were interviewing for the Directorship at Good Samaritan and visited the childcare center for the first time, you returned home in tears, saying, “I just want for other people’s children the same quality of care and education that I want for my own children.” Your heartache turned into a commitment to children that resulted in Good Samaritan’s receiving the highest possible level of national accreditation for its childcare programs. With imagination and energy you helped the community develop traditions like Las Posadas, reenacting Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem prior to Jesus’ birth, that are open to the whole city; you researched and garnered the resources to create the edible garden and play area; you created safe places for older members of the community to gather for social events and exercise. At all times, you have sought input from the people in the neighborhood and developed local leadership to make sure that the neighborhood’s priorities drove the programs.

In 2009 the San Antonio Division of the FBI honored you with the Director’s Community Leadership Award because of your work with gang intervention. You have bravely extended hope to those caught in the misery of poverty and crime. The tenacity of your servant’s heart brought an area of San Antonio known as the “Death Triangle” a brighter future. Today, Good Samaritan Community Services fulfills its mission “to serve as a catalyst for change, supporting individuals and families by providing excellent community services to overcome the impact of poverty”.  Over 16 counties in Central and West Texas benefit from the services of Good Samaritan by serving the poor through education, character development, physical activity, and self-sufficiency.

This year you celebrate 20 years as Executive Director of Good Samaritan. In that time hundreds of lives have been transformed as a result of your vision and leadership. The poor have heard and seen the good news through your commitment to serve.

Seminary of the Southwest is proud to honor you with the 2016 Charles J. Cook Award in Servant Leadership.

Cynthia Briggs Kittredge                                                                Nathan Jennings
Dean and President                                                                         Faculty Secretary