Lipscomb University General Counsel Phil Ellenburg has been named president of Middle Tennessee Christian School (MTCS), a preK-12 school affiliated with the Churches of Christ located in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Ellenburg, who joined the university staff in January 1994, will begin his role with MTCS in April.
“Phil has served Lipscomb University for 20 years, handling its legal affairs, risk management and government relations with dedication and expertise. He has been a valued member of this administration bringing to the university wise counsel, consistent leadership and a great sense of humor,” said Lipscomb University President L. Randolph Lowry. “Whether guiding the university through its decade-long process to have an approved master plan for campus development or successfully advocating for the university — and all independent colleges in Tennessee— for the use of Industrial Revenue Bonds for campus construction, his work as a lawyer was outstanding. Phil and his family have been an important part of the Lipscomb community and they will be greatly missed.”
“One of the ramifications of Lipscomb's advancement during the last several years is the reality that other institutions will look to our people for their human resource needs. That is to be expected because it is our people, their vision, creativity and effectiveness that have made Lipscomb one of the fastest-growing and most innovative independent universities in our region. We do not cherish the moments when such occurs, but we share in the excitement when new opportunities are offered to those for whom we have great regard.”
Bob Schaffer, chairman of the MTCS board of directors, said Ellenburg is a good fit to lead the school.
“Dr. Ellenburg’s proven leadership ability along with the vision and passion he has for Christian education makes him a perfect fit to lead Middle Tennessee Christian School as it continues to grow and expand. We look forward to this new chapter in our school’s history,” he said.
A native of Merritt Island, Fla., Ellenburg earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Lipscomb University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Kentucky. Prior to his tenure at Lipscomb, Ellenburg practiced in the Nashville firm of Watkins, McGugin, McNeilly & Rowan. He is a member of the Tennessee and Nashville Bar Associations, as well as the National Association for College and University Attorneys. He is admitted to practice before all courts in Tennessee, the U.S. Tax Court and the U.S. Supreme Court and is a frequent speaker on general legal matters facing primary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education.
Ellenburg said his experience as a member of the university administration has prepared him for this new role.
“I have had the privilege to be a part of a great team of people at Lipscomb and feel good about the accomplishments that we have made,” said Ellenburg. “My experience at Lipscomb has particularly prepared me to lead Middle Tennessee Christian School as I have learned from, and been a part of, the exciting growth here. The vision and leadership I’ve been able to experience have been valuable learning experiences for me.”
The decision to leave Lipscomb was not easy, Ellenburg said.
“I love Lipscomb and I have loved my time here. I bleed purple,” he said. “But, you never know what God has planned for us. This is a very unique opportunity to help build on the great foundation already in place at MTCS. It was clear that God opened a door that we needed to walk through.”
In addition to his work with the campus master plan and the Industrial Revenue Bonds, Ellenburg is credited with assisting the university and Lipscomb Academy in developing a number of projects including Longview, the soccer practice fields and most recently the Griffith Soccer Complex; creating the Office of Risk Management, hiring the university’s first risk manager, significantly upgrading the university’s emergency preparedness and response plan; navigating the legal aspect of the university athletics program’s transition from NAIA to NCAA competition; and under his oversight, expanding the scope of the Office of Campus Security and Safety; and helping the university navigate numerous other behind-the-scenes challenges.
A search for Ellenburg’s successor will begin immediately.