Lexington Theological Seminary’s model for theological education addresses the barrier to a high-quality theological education that prepares students to serve in congregations. The non-residential, congregation-based model has national and global appeal and reduces direct cost to students thereby reducing dependency on student loans. The strategic use of technology, the online classroom and the non-residential program helps a new population of students to respond to God’s call to ministry.
Our model invites the local congregation to become fully integrated partners in the education of clergy thus helping to nurture and mentor students into a richer understanding of the rhythms of pastoral life while upholding the Seminary’s tradition of rigorous spirit filled academic preparation and critical thinking.
The addition of senior practitioners as mentors and peer covenant groups enhance and enrich the practical and spiritual formation of students. The new campus and curriculum reflect an intense commitment to developing students as mature pastoral leaders who can transform and give life to communities of faith through preaching, teaching and leading God’s people.
Dr. Charisse L. Gillett, President
Dr. Charisse L. Gillett became the 17th president of Lexington Theological Seminary in September 2011. Her appointment is historic in the 156-year history of the Seminary: She is the first woman and first African-American to lead the Seminary as president.
Dr. Gillett has more than 30 years of successful administrative experience in higher education, including service at Transylvania University, Midway College, Robert Morris College and the University of Northern Iowa. She holds a doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University.
A former moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she has been a commissioned minister of the Christian Church In Kentucky since August 2010 and served as an Associate Minister at East Second Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), where her husband, LTS DMin alumnus Dr. Donald K. Gillett II, served as Senior Pastor. Dr. Gillett served as Vice President of Administration and Special Projects at the Seminary prior to her appointment as president, LTS trustee and officer of the Board of Trustees. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Theological Schools and a director and Finance Committee Chair for the In Trust Center for Theological Schools. Dr. Gillett is also a member of the Transylvania University Board of Trustees.
Dr. Gillett is deeply committed to the church and the work of the Seminary in shaping students for ministry. An energetic and dedicated leader, she works closely with a team of trustees, faculty, staff, students, and congregations to grow the Seminary’s new programs, which are designed to serve the needs of the church while continuing the Seminary’s storied history of preparing people for ministry.
Dr. Gillett received a $15,000 Reflective Leadership grant from Leadership Education at Duke Divinity in 2018 to think carefully about leading in the midst of crisis. She wrote about her journey in an essay, Reflections on Leadership in an era of COVID-19 and in the Midst of a Reckoning on Racial Injustice, which was published in the Journal of Higher Education Management 2021 by the American Association of University Administrators.
She is married to the Rev. Dr. Donald K. Gillett II, the Regional Minister of the Christian Church in Kentucky and adjunct faculty member at LTS. She has four children and one grandchild.