Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Partners in planning your next step.

The staff of Candler’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid aren’t just emissaries for Candler; they are servant leaders committed to supporting you in your theological journey. Part Sherpa, part counselor, part career coach, they partner with you to discover where your interests and passions and Candler’s unique brand of theological education intersect. Sure, they love to talk about Candler, but they equally love to listen to the stories and context each prospective student brings with them. Through that listening, they can help you discern your call, consider the range of academic options available, and determine how a theological degree will help prepare you for your next step. Email Candler’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.

Mathew Pinson

Mathew Pinson

Interim Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

If you hear someone cheerfully whistling an orchestral march down the hall, chances are it’s Mathew. A native of Newnan, Georgia, Mathew grew up in parsonages around North Georgia as the son of a United Methodist minister. You might as well call him “Mr. Methodist” for the many ways he serves the church when he’s not at Candler, including as elected chairperson of the North Georgia Delegation to the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, and as a member of the board of directors of Wespath Benefits and Investments. Mathew graduated from Reinhardt College, where he served two terms as student body president. An Eagle Scout, he loves camping and backpacking. He’s hiked the entirety of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and North Carolina, and hopes one day to make it all the way to Mt. Katahdin. In fact, he would’ve hiked into Virginia, but the North Carolina section through the Nantahala Forest was so beautiful, he turned back and hiked it again—twice. Mathew’s wife, Susan, serves as an associate pastor at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on Emory’s campus, and they have two children.

Roger Butler

Roger Butler

Assistant Director of Admissions, Operations and Communication

Roger hails from the south Georgia town of Claxton, also known as “the fruitcake capital of the world”—though he admits he’s not a big fan of fruitcake. He joins the Candler team after serving for several years in admissions at Georgia Southern University’s Armstrong campus (formerly Armstrong Atlantic State University) in Savannah. Roger received his BA in Political Science from Albany State University, and went on to earn his Master of Education in Adult Education and Community Leadership with a concentration in Human Resources from Armstrong. He is a member of the international honor society for education, Kappa Delta Pi, and was twice awarded Armstrong’s Above and Beyond Service Award as a staff person. Roger’s cheerful nature is evident as soon as you meet him, and even shines through in cyberspace—don’t be surprised if he ends an e-mail wishing you a “Marvelous Monday” or a “Wonderful Wednesday” (send him a message on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday to find out the rest)! Outside the office, Roger loves to play and watch tennis. If pressed to pick a favorite player—hey, it’s hard—he’ll always cheer for Serena Williams on the women’s side and Novak Djokovic on the men’s.

Ashly Cargle-Thompson

Associate Director of Financial Aid & Admissions

Hailing from the Midwest, Ashly began her career at Candler as the program coordinator for the Doctor of Ministry, International Initiatives, and Theological Education Between the Times programs. She earned her BA from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, majoring in comparative religion with an emphasis in Islam and triple-minoring in anthropology, psychology, and English. Before pursuing graduate studies, Ashly realized a longtime dream by playing professional basketball for the Stirling Senators in Perth, Western Australia. Upon returning to the U.S., she completed her MA at the University of Chicago Divinity School with an emphasis in Islamic studies and anthropology of religion. Her research focused on the formation of identity and selfhood among conservative Muslim women through their evolving interpretations of Qur’anic passages about menstruation and purity. In her spare time, Ashly enjoys reading, cooking, swimming, and hiking.

Nikki Jackson

Sr. Office Assistant, Office of Admissions and Financial Aid

Chatting with Nikki when you first arrive in the Admissions and Financial Aid office, it doesn’t take long to discover that she’s deeply committed to two things: her family, and Atlanta Falcons football (she’s been a season ticket holder for the last 15 years!). And those priorities often overlap; when she’s not serving as the front line of hospitality at Candler, you’ll find her cheering from the sidelines of a Falcons game alongside her mom. Nikki also enjoys reading, watching NASCAR, and working towards her bachelor’s degree in history, with a minor in secondary education. A veteran employee of Emory (since 1995) and Candler (since 1999), Nikki’s knowledge of our community is deep, and she loves working in Admissions, where she can live out her passion for helping students. She’s also lived in Atlanta since she was eight years old, so you can ask her anything about the city—not just Falcons trivia!

Joel LeMon

Joel LeMon

Associate Professor of Old Testament; Chair of Admissions Scholarships and Honors Committee

Joel has been making his mark at Candler ever since he joined the faculty in 2007. An ordained elder in the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church, he felt called to ministry since he was a teenager and earned his MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary and his PhD from Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion, where he now serves as Associate Director. But he’s not only a great professor and an able administrator—he’s also an avid musician with a BA in trumpet from the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music. You can often find him lending his musical skills to Candler worship services, and if you go to the popular Oakhurst Porchfest or other venues around town, you might even see him playing banjo and harmonica. His love and study of music have been integral to his work as a biblical scholar and a teacher (how many profs start their intro to OT classes with a rousing ancient Hebrew chorus?). And Joel carries that joy beyond the classroom; word has it that he frequently treats his fellow faculty members to committee reports in the form of poems.

Sarah Pinson

Assistant Director of Admissions

Sarah (no relation to Mathew Pinson) grew up in Bamberg, South Carolina, and comes to Candler with years of admissions experience under her belt as a staff member at Vanderbilt University and the College of Charleston. She received her BA in religion from Davidson College, went on to earn her MDiv from Vanderbilt—with a focus on food, hospitality, and Christian ethics—and also holds a certificate in sustainable agriculture from the College of Charleston. If it’s not clear from the previous sentence that spirituality and food are passions for Sarah, how about this? She has two (small) tattoos of the symbols for bread and yeast, referencing the Genesis 18 passage when Sarah makes bread for three visitors and the Luke 13 parable of the yeast. She loves cooking, baking, hosting dinner parties, and checking out new restaurants, so be sure to ask about her favorite spots in Atlanta. When she’s not reading applications, on a recruitment visit, or hunting for a new culinary challenge, Sarah can be found writing or running (short distances only—one half marathon was enough!).

Stewart Voegtlin

Assistant Director of Admissions

A former newspaper editor, Stewart has the inside story on being a student at Candler, because he’s been one. He is a 2015 graduate of Candler’s Master of Theological Studies program, where he studied biblical hermeneutics and the intersection of Scripture and Greco-Roman literature, putting to excellent use his BA in philosophy with a concentration in classics from Georgia State University. He has fond MTS memories of exegeting New Testament texts in Greek, searching for the Markan Kingdom of God, and discussing Thomas Merton and prayer with the inimitable Don Saliers over a cup of tea. As former assistant youth director at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, Stewart put his theology into practice, accompanying youth on domestic and international mission trips and leading Bible studies for middle- and high-school students. We’re glad to have his big ideas, keen insights and dry wit back at Candler.

Student Workers

Leea Allen, MDiv '19

Leea Allen

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Fun Fact: Loves zip lining and fishing.

John Barnes, MDiv '17, ThM '18

John Barnes

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Fun Fact: Plays the piano (listen for him in Chapel).

Elyse Cooke, MDiv '20

Elyse Cooke

Hometown: Columbus, OH

Fun Fact: Has a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.

LaRyssa Herrington, MDiv '20

LaRyssa Herrington

Hometown: Tolono, IL

Fun Fact: Is a certified Open Water Scuba Diver.

Anna Lautenschlager, MDiv '18

Anna Lautenschlager

Hometown: Alpharetta, GA

Fun Fact: Wants to be a pediatric hospital chaplain.

Student Ambassadors

Brad Biggerstaff, MDiv '19

Brad Biggerstaff

Denomination: UMC

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Fun Fact: Has been active in six different denominations at various times in his life.

Danielle Campbell, MDiv '20

Denomination: Seventh-day Adventist

Hometown: Williamsburg, VA

Fun Fact: Plays the flute and tenor saxaphone.

Natalie Faria-Campbell, MDiv '18

Denomination: Still exploring

Hometown: Valrico, FL

Fun Fact: Has traveled to 16 countries.

Bridget Hall, MDiv '19

Bridget Hall

Denomination: UMC

Hometown: Greensboro, NC

Fun Fact: Almost minored in art.

Sarah Kothe, MTS '18

Sarah Kothe

Denomination: Roman Catholic

Hometown: Tallahassee, FL

Fun Fact: Worked at an interfaith retreat center for three years.

Khalfani Lawson, MDiv '18

Khalfani Lawson

Denomination: Baptist

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Fun Fact: Before he could type, his grandmother used to type his papers for him. Now he's her tech support.

Daniel Reffner, MDiv '20


Denomination: UMC

Hometown: Wichita, KS

Fun Fact: Drove to the Arctic Ocean in the summer of 2017 with his twin brother.

Maddie Russo, MDiv '20

Maddie Russo

Denomination: UMC

Hometown: Shreveport, LA

Fun Fact: Has been skydiving, scuba diving, and paragliding.

Brody Scott, MDiv '20

Brody Scott

Denomination: Still exploring

Hometown: Williamsburg, VA

Fun Fact: Is a proud Canadian citizen.

Byron Wratee, MDiv '18

Byron Wratee

Denomination: Roman Catholic

Hometown: Kingstree, SC

Fun Fact: Loves to sing and write music.