The Bishop Kemper School for Ministry (BKSM) announces that the Very Rev. Dr. Don Compier will retire from his role as the dean of the seminary at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year. Compier has held this position since July 1, 2014.
The Rev. Deacon Donna Stanford, board chair, stated that “although Don will be relinquishing his administrative role when he steps down as dean at the end of the 2024 academic year, he will still be one of our esteemed instructors. We will miss Don in his administrative capacity, where he has exhibited unflagging leadership and has enthusiastically championed BKSM during his ten-year tenure. “
In a letter shared with the BKSM community, Compier explained his decision. “With God’s generous help, my spouse Yolanda Santos Compier (Yola) and I made this decision entirely on our own. Throughout my 10 years of service, our community has been kind, affirming, and supportive. This is why I have repeatedly, sincerely said that being dean of BKSM has been the best job of my professional life. What a great way to end my 32-year career as a theological educator! I give thanks to God for all that we have experienced and accomplished together.”
The Rt. Rev. Scott Barker, bishop of the Diocese of Nebraska and a founding bishop of BKSM, reflected on Compier’s impact on the seminary. “Dean Compier has guided the Bishop Kemper School through an extended period of rapid growth and constant change. He has shaped a residential seminary alternative that’s ideally suited to the particularities of Middle America and responsive to the needs of the future Church. BKSM is a larger, stronger, and more diverse Christian community because of Don’s ministry, and because he has endeavored to follow in the way of Jesus at every step, BKSM has become an icon for what seminary formation – and institutional ministry – could look like in the years to come.”
The Board of Directors will conduct a nationwide search for the seminary’s third dean. In the coming weeks, the board will conduct listening sessions to discern the knowledge, experience, competencies, and personal attributes desired in the next dean. It is anticipated that the position will be posted and shared in the spring.
The Bishop Kemper School for Ministry is a collaboration of the Episcopal Dioceses of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, West Missouri and Western Kansas that provides high-quality, affordable theological education for all people, offered in person and online. In its first decade, the seminary graduated over 120 people serving the church as priests, deacons and lay leaders.