Meet the Orientation Team

Ellen Staff

The Reverend Ellen Echols Purdum, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Spiritual Formation

Greetings! I’m Ellen Purdum, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Spiritual Formation at Candler. What is an Assistant Dean of Student Life and Spiritual Formation? Well, I call it my “Martha and Mary” job. The “Martha” part involves working collaboratively with faculty, staff and student leaders to support the many student services, programs and activities at Candler. The “Mary” part of this role means that I spend a lot of time listening deeply to the lives of students here. It is my hope that these different aspects of my work will help foster opportunities where spiritual and vocational formation—in their many and diverse varieties—enhance students’ theological education and preparation for ministry and service. 

I also am an ordained Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Atlanta and lead worship or preach most Sundays at Church of the Good Shepherd in the small town of Covington, Georgia. In my previous lives I have taught English and service learning electives at the high school level and worked for a national, ecumenical non-profit organization that supported young adults exploring or preparing for pastoral ministry. I also am an associate at the Green Bough House of Prayer, a retreat center in southern Georgia where I go to be quiet, and I live in Decatur with my husband and a rescued rat terrier named Hannah.

You’ll find me in the Office of Student Programming, on the third floor of the Rita Ann Rollins Building, in Suite 311. I look forward to meeting you!


Audrey Staff

Audrey N. Hindes, Program Associate for Academic & International Support

My name is Audrey and I am the Program Associate for Academic and International Support in the Office of Student Programming. I bring to Candler ten years of experience in theological education, both in teaching and administration. I have taught courses in biblical and religious studies, including Greek and Hebrew, at Fresno Pacific University and Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, and I also have taught Latin and logic at The Wilberforce School in Princeton, New Jersey. My work in theological education includes project development and management of study abroad programming, as well as experience teaching international students. 

I am a native Californian who earned a Master of Arts in Biblical Languages at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, followed by a year of doctoral studies in Hebrew Bible at the London School of Theology. I am a chef and cooking instructor who is passionate about food, justice and hospitality, and I look forward to sharing these gifts with you. My primary areas of responsibility in the OSP include academic support, international student support, and student international exchanges. My office is RARB 318. I have wonderful tea brewing every afternoon, so drop by and say hello!


Tiffany Staff

Tiffany Cooper, Orientation Coordinator 

Welcome to Candler! My name is Tiffany and I am the 2013 Orientation Coordinator and a former Student Life Coordinator for the Office of Student Programming.  I am a 2013 graduate of Candler where I pursued a Master of Divinity with certificates in Black Church Studies and Women, Theology & Ministry. My research interests include mental health and the Black Church. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio I attended Cincinnati Christian University where I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Biblical Studies and Leadership in Ministry. Prior to coming to Candler, I worked professionally developing and facilitating programs and trainings in both non-profit and faith based institutions that serve women and children in marginalized communities.  When I am not busy trying to save the world, I enjoy spending time in nature, music, art, journaling and naps (You need those in seminary!)

As a Student Life Coordinator in the OSP I did a little bit of everything. My primary role was to stay in tune to the needs of the student body and assist in the development and facilitation of programs that will meet those needs. These programs range from how to stay sane in seminary to healthy eating habits and opportunities for fellowship with your peers. Thus, as a Student Life Coordinator my responsibility is to ensure that you have such an enriching seminary experience that when you leave not only will your mind have been nourished but your body and soul as well. I also perform various administrative tasks in the office and act as an encourager, smiling face, and replenisher of the candy jar (a very famous hanging spot in Candler). 

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HaleyMills.pngHaley Mills, International Orientation Coordinator & Settlement Helper

Welcome to Candler! My name is Haley and I am the 2013 International Orientation Coordinator and Settlement Helper. I am a 3rd year Master of Divinity student. My research interests are liberation theology, Latin American theologies, Women of the Old Testament, and Short Term Missions. This is my first year working for the Office of Student Programming. I will be busy trying to assist the international students and international exchange students as you all arrive and settle in to  life at Candler. I will also be in the Office of Student Programming answering questions and phones. When not working, I enjoy cooking, running, and learning Brazilian Portuguese. I am excited to meet all of the new incoming students and especially  the new international students. Come by the office and say “Hi!”  



Tiffany StaffJasmine S. Terry, Student Life Coordinator

Greetings! My name is Jasmine, and I am a native of the Atlanta area, and a 3rd year Master of Divinity student pursuing a Women, Theology & Ministry certificate with a Justice, Peacebuilding & Conflict Transformation concentration. I received my bachelor's degree in religion & social justice from Agnes Scott College and worked in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors prior to coming to Candler. This is my second year as a student life coordinator in the Office of Student Programming, where like Tiffany, I do a bit of everything from supporting the needs of students, to planning events, to administrative tasks, to replenishing the candy jar! I enjoy studying liberation theology, feminist/womanist ethics, gender studies and African American history and culture. However, when I am not studying I enjoy spending quality time with family and loved ones, learning to cook, listening to soul music and watching HGTV. I am excited about meeting all of you!