Skip to main content

Increased Enrollment and Faculty in the School of Public Policy

November 13, 2023

Alfred Degrafinreid, Brent Easley, and Amy Owen headshot

Alfred Degrafinreid, Brent Easley, and Amy Owen

The School of Public Policy continues to grow.

The fall semester brought 49 new students to Lipscomb's School of Public Policy across the two graduate programs in Leadership & Public Service and Public Administration

Within the M.A. in Leadership & Public Service, the Tennessee National Guard cohort doubled in size with the additional partnership in Knoxville. The weekly classes now have students together in Knoxville and Nashville, with the professor in person at one location. 

The cohort expansion is a factor in the increased need for faculty support. Alfred Degrafinreid, Brent Easley, and Amy Owen are the newest faculty members in the School of Public Policy. They are experts in leadership across Tennessee and policy solutions.


Alfred Degrafinreid

Alfred Degrafinreid is a native of Memphis, Tennessee, and has resided in Nashville for more than two decades. Professionally, he serves as the President and CEO of Leadership Tennessee. Prior to this post, Degrafinreid served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Local Government Relations and Community Partnerships at Vanderbilt University.
Degrafinreid is a former public administrator with senior leadership experience on the local, state, and federal levels of government. Degrafinreid holds degrees from Tennessee State University and Indiana University, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education Leadership and Policy from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.
Degrafinreid is currently an officer and board member of Nashville’s Convention Center Authority (Music City Center), serves on the board of directors for the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA), is the President-elect of the Rotary Club of Nashville, and is an advisory member of Nashville’s St. Jude Executive Leadership Council.
Degrafinreid resides in Nashville with his wife, Tiffany Degrafinreid, and their two children, Alfred III and Chancellor Joelle.

This fall, Degrafinreid is with the MPA students in Introduction to Leadership and Public Service and will teach Effective Cross-Sector Collaboration with the Tennessee National Guard cohort in the Summer 2024 term.

Brent Easley 

Brent Easley is the President of BHA Strategy. He recently left a long-time role as Legislative Director for Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, having served in that role since 2019. Prior to that he served on the Governor-elect's transition team in 2018. Leading up to his current role with the governor, Easley has served as the Executive Director for two education non-profit/advocacy groups, senior policy analyst for Republican leadership in the Tennessee House of Representatives, and has a background in political campaigns at both the state and federal level. He completed both his undergrad degree and a more recent master's degree in leadership and public service at Lipscomb. Originally from Lebanon, Tennessee, Easley now lives in Nashville with his wife and two children.

MPA students began their programs with Easley in Foundations of Careers in Public Administration earlier this fall.

Amy Owen

Dr. Amy Owen is the Senior Director, Digital and Teacher Policy at ExcelinEd where she leads a team that researches and designs student-centered state policy solutions to bridge the digital divide and strengthen the teacher pipeline.  Previously, Owen worked for the State of Tennessee from 2013-2022 and most recently served as the Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Research at the Tennessee State Board of Education.  Her work included developing and managing the board’s policy agenda, leading improvements to state academic standards and to educator preparation accountability systems, and overseeing research projects aligned to strategic goals.  At the start of her career, Owen taught middle and high school history in public schools in North Carolina and Tennessee.  Owen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Wake Forest University, two masters degrees from Vanderbilt University, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Tennessee State University. 

Owen will begin teaching in the new year with the Master of Public Administration students with the course, Qualitative Analysis and Public Service, and lead students through Readings in Public Administration in the summer term.


Lipscomb University’s College of Leadership & Public Service

Lipscomb’s College of Leadership & Public Service is “Where Tennessee Turns for Leadership” by intentionally addressing local, national and global issues to prepare leaders to navigate, shape and steer the direction of matters affecting communities and people around the world. The college comprises four institutes–the Institute for Conflict Management, the Institute for Law, Justice & Society, the Institute for Sustainable Practice and the Nelson & Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership, and one school–the School of Public Policy, all of which focus on both outreach and academics. Its programs include studies in pre-law, public service, nonprofit management, corporate social justice, government and sustainability among others. 

Interested in earning a degree? Contact Frank Osteen (frank.osteen [at] or visit

College of Leadership and Public Service News