Student Profile: Lee Ann Newland, M.A. in Pastoral Care and Counseling, NBTS
October 8, 2021
Last fall, in a virtual-only learning environment, Lee Ann Newland started the Certificate program for Church Leadership. One of her courses – Introduction to Pastoral Care – resonated strongly with her on many levels. It helped propel her from the certificate program into the Master of Arts program in Pastoral Care and Counseling.
Lee Ann’s coursework this fall includes both virtual and hybrid classes. Much of the work is independent, so when she can join others in person, she finds it energizing and very rewarding. Joining other students in the classroom and having face-to-face discussions with professors is so impactful for Lee Ann, especially as a second-career student with no recent academic experience.
On the other hand, she has also thoroughly enjoyed attending virtual class with students based all over the country. She has met students from Philadelphia and Oregon in the program. This adds to the learning environment, bringing new experiences and perspectives to the already racially, ethnically, and religiously diverse NBTS.
Lee Ann graduated as a French Horn performance major from Manhattan School of Music and received her Master’s in Music from Rutgers University. As a full-time public school band director, a professional French Horn player, and co-director of a local nonprofit, going back to school felt like a major undertaking.
Her journey to the Pastoral Care and Counseling program was unique; a confluence of events and experiences brought her to NBTS. With her retirement from teaching a few years in the future, Lee Ann wanted to prepare for a second career – serving as a counselor with Hospice. In Lee Ann’s words, “As a band director in a diverse public school district, I have learned to maximize compassion and empathy when working with youth and families in the educational setting. As a lifelong member of the Reformed Church of America, my faith has taught me how to share God’s love, be of service, and love others for who they are.” NBTS offered the perfect setting – an RCA-affiliated seminary with a diverse student body, convenient location, and online classes.
Another reason NBTS felt like the right fit for Lee Ann was her time as a youth in Teaneck, the first town in New Jersey to desegregate. Lee Ann grew up in Teaneck and teaches there now. It’s a socially progressive town with a strong racial justice tradition. Both Princeton Seminary and New Brunswick were local seminary options, but NBTS aligned strongly with her experience and upbringing. According to Lee Ann, “While going back to school to work on my ‘retirement’ career seems daunting, my life experience leads me to this point as a culmination of all that has come before.”
When Lee Ann isn’t teaching or playing her French Horn, she, and husband John Henry Lambert, run a nonprofit – the Gramercy Brass Orchestra of NY. The organization is a socially minded group of 30 musicians who entertain, offer an annual summer camp at Montclair State University, and raise money for local causes and communities. They hope to expand their offerings to include free music lessons for children associated with their nonprofit partners.
Lee Ann’s music career included performances with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, and many notable chamber ensembles based in the NY area. She has appeared with numerous Broadway musicals and is a member of the famed Papermill Playhouse Orchestra in Millburn, NJ. If she brings even part of her passion and energy for music and service to her second career, many NJ patients and families will benefit from her counseling and care.