Scarritt Bennett Center (SBC), Nashville’s premier conference, retreat, and transformative education center, has selected educator, lawyer and faith-based leader Rev. Sondrea L. Tolbert as its next executive director. She will begin her new role on November 1.
“We are excited to welcome Rev. Tolbert to Scarritt Bennett,” said Andrea Hatcher, SBC Board Chairperson. “She is highly qualified, motivated and will challenge SBC to continue living into its mission of hospitality and education ministries of justice, equality and reconciliation in new and exciting ways.” Rev. Tolbert succeeds Sarah Wilke, who has led SBC for five years.
This committed leader has a love for education and empowerment. She is the immediate past director of the National Consortium of Black Women in Ministry, Nashville Chapter, (NCBWIM), where she fostered a focus on the community through ministry initiatives involving breast cancer awareness, domestic violence, and HIV/AIDS. While leading NCBWIM, she established Pink Sunday Nashville which is held throughout churches in middle Tennessee to raise breast cancer awareness.
“It is indeed an honor to be selected by the board as the guardian of the safe, sacred space of the historic Scarritt Bennett Center. It is this place where transformation takes place to educate, equip and empower lives and communities,” said Rev. Tolbert.
This dynamic leader is an ordained minister who uses her myriad skills in the marketplace and ministry. At the core of her work is her faith. Rev. Tolbert is a transformative servant leader, visionary, community organizer, educator, author and passionate advocate for women. A true woman of substance, she is the first woman ordained and appointed as assistant pastor of the historic Fairfield Missionary Baptist Church, in Goodlettsville, Tenn. Furthermore, she is the author of On the Bright Side Morning Joy Devotions, a freelance writer for Abingdon Press, and founder of Sisterhood ROCKS Ministry (Radically Obedient Christian-Women Kingdom Surrendered).
The Alabama native has a significant history in Nashville, serving as an administrator at Meharry Medical College and Adjunct Professor at Tennessee State University. She also practiced law at the Nashville-based firm Watkins, Clayton & Tolbert, and most recently served as a Judicial Law Clerk for Judge Monte Watkins, Davidson County Criminal Court Division V.
Her education speaks boldly of her appreciation for both formal and informal learning. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Fisk University. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio and her Doctor of Jurisprudence from North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham, N.C.
She is unstoppable in her drive to make the world a better place. “Her overarching career in law, higher education, and theology make her the perfect fit to continue SBC’s growth as a hub for women’s empowerment, racial justice, spiritual formation, and education of the laity,” said Rev. Dr. Chestina Archibald, former chaplain at Fisk University.
As executive director, Rev. Tolbert will work closely with SBC staff and board to ensure its campus can continue to be a place for justice and transformative education both locally and nationally.