Faculty & Staff

Deborah Boyd, Dean and Director of Graduate Studies, Associate Professor of Education

Dr. Boyd brings deep educational experience to Lipscomb, having served at the local, system and state level.  Her areas of interest include curriculum, assessment, educational leadership, and effective instruction. Her research interests include teachers of ELL students and teacher effectiveness.  Deborah and her husband Don have two daughters: Jennifer and Julie.

Boyd holds B.A., M.A., and Ed.S. degrees from Middle Tennessee State University, and and Ed.D. from Tennessee State University.


Rachael Milligan, Managing Director

Rachael joined the Ayers Institute in August 2013 and served as a Program Director before becoming Managing Director.  She taught at the middle school level for nine years, both in Arkansas and in Tennessee.  Prior to joining the Ayers Institute, Rachael served as an assistant principal in Williamson County, Tennessee.  Additionally, Rachael has been Director of 21st Century Community Learning Centers and a house parent at the Tennessee Children’s Home.  Rachael has her administrative endorsement from Trevecca Nazarene University, her M.Ed. from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, and her B.A. from Harding University.  She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Learning Organizations and Strategic Change as a candidate in Lipscomb's Ed.D program.


Kristin BlankenshipKristin Blankenship, Administrative Assistant

Kristin started as the administrative assistant supporting day to day operations of the institute in August 2014. Kristin graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2007 with a degree in Sports and Exercise Science and Health and went on to earn a Master's degree in Education from Lipscomb University in 2011. Kristin has worked in the Lipscomb community in various roles over the last six years.


Forrest Doddington, Content Technology Specialist

Forrest joined the Ayers staff in January 2014 with a focus on the deployment of online courses and development of digital learning materials. He brings experience in media production, web design and programming, multimedia authoring, database design and administration, system administration, user training and support. Forrest previously worked five years in higher-education instruction (digital media communication) and 10 years as a technical communicator and system administrator for a Fortune 500 company. He has a M.S. in Interactive and New Communication Technology with a Graduate Certificate in Online Instructional Development from Florida State University and a B.A. in Radio/Television Communication from Harding University.


Karen MarkleinKaren Marklein, Program Director

Karen serves as a Program Director with a focus on instructional coaching. Karen worked with Sumner County Schools this past year as a PACE facilitator where she completed over 300 teacher observations and evaluations using the TEAM evaluation system. She also served as an instructional coach for Sumner County and was an English teacher at Beech High School. Karen has an M. Ed. in Ed Leadership from Bethel University, a M.A. from MTSU and a B.A. from the University of Tennessee at Martin.


Julia Osteen, Technology Integration Specialist

Julia joined the Ayers Staff in August, 2013 with a focus in Online Learning. She has worked in both private and public K-12 education for 25 years. From classroom teacher to Technology Integration Chair, Julia has had experience not only in the classroom as a teacher but also with supporting teachers as they plan learning activities that utilize available technologies for student learning goals. She has an Ed. S. in Instructional Design and Technology from The University of Georgia, an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Georgia State University, and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Lipscomb University.