A Kentucky State University alumna has spent her career working in education and the church to help lift up as many people as possible.
Charliese Brown Lewis, class of 1997, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English education. Lewis dreamed of becoming the Oprah of print media, she said, but her calling was in education.
Lewis said she fought hard not to go into education. She didn’t want to become a traditional classroom teacher.
“At the end of the day, what’s in you is in you. Education has just always been in me, even as a child who taught almost the whole neighborhood how to ride a bike,” Lewis said. “Or, I would play school during summer break on the picnic tables in the backyard because my teachers would give me all of the leftover worksheets and old textbooks at the end of each school year.”
Lewis earned a master’s degree in journalism at The Ohio State University, then came back to Kentucky State as an employee to work in the land-grant program as the state specialist for communications. Lewis’ role eventually expanded into external relations and development.
After seven years, Lewis went to the Kentucky Department of Education, where she worked on the K-12 policy side of education, including working in equity and closing the achievement gap.
Lewis later left for Berea College, where she developed student support services. Following Berea, she worked at the Kentucky Council of Postsecondary Education with GEAR UP Kentucky. Lewis is currently a college and career readiness coach at Fayette County Public Schools.
“I have expected and still expect all of my students to be successful,” Lewis said. “I expect them to be great. If I can be a conduit for greatness for any of them, then I’ve done my job.”
Parallel to her education career is Lewis’ time in the church.
“When I was 13 years old, I began playing piano for the adult choir at my church,” Lewis said. “By the time I was 16, the long-time church musician died and I was the only one in the church who could play. I ended up being the musician for about five choirs. That’s a lot of responsibility as a teenager.”
Lewis retired about two years ago after 30 years of service.
Lewis also led the women’s ministry at her home church for approximately 15 years.
In 2013, Lewis and her husband started an online ministry called The ‘After Church’ Experience.
“What started as an online ministry as a blog to encourage our students in their faith expanded into Robert and Charliese Lewis Ministeries Inc., which includes ministerial services, publications and outreach programming,” Lewis said. “Our ministries focus on making intentional time for God through daily prayer, devotions and the study of God’s word outside of the four walls of the church.”
Lewis said she and her husband work alongside the church to encourage others to live out their purpose with the love of Jesus at the forefront.
In 2018, the company published its first book, “From the Test to the Testimony: An Anthology of Women’s Faith Stories.” “For Purpose Editing and Public Relations Professionals” launched in 2019.
“I am excited about some upcoming projects that are in the works,” Lewis said.
Lewis, the 1996 Kentucky Derby Festival Queen, recently earned a Master of Science in higher education from the University of Kentucky. Lewis is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She is married to Robert J. Lewis of Lexington. They have one daughter, Chloe, who is 10.
Visit www.randclewisministries.com for more information about her ministry.