Andrews Institute appoints new academic, managing directors

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CONTACT: Kim Chaudoin | 615.966.6494 |

Lipscomb University’s Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership recently announced the appointment of a new academic program director along with several other administrative promotions.

Michelle Steeve
Dr. Michelle Steele
Lydia Lenker

Former director of Nashville  Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and local government veteran Michelle D. Steele has been named Andrews Institute academic director. Andrews Institute Executive-in-Residence Lydia Lenker has been appointed managing director of the institute.

Steele brings more than 15 years of experience working with government agencies to the Andrews Institute.

“As I worked with members of the community through the office of neighborhoods I discovered that people didn’t understand that they have the power within themselves to make a difference in their lives and in the community around them,” said Steele. “The civic leadership program at Lipscomb is about empowering individuals by helping them use the tools they already have to become leaders in their organizations, neighborhood and communities. I look forward to helping students develop those skills for them to reach their full potential.” 

A former case manager for the Mid-Cumberland Community Services Agency, Steele was part of the Office of Neighborhoods for nine years, serving as director of the office for four years during the Bill Purcell administration. For the last five years, Steele supervised the customer service team at the Metropolitan Nashville Department of Codes and Building Safety.

Steele has a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, a Master of Science degree in public service management from Cumberland University and a Doctorate of Education in leadership and professional practice from Trevecca Nazarene University.

Lenker, who served as press secretary to former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and is a veteran broadcast journalist in radio and television news, was recently appointed managing director of the Andrews Institute. She joined the institute administration in February 2011 as executive-in-residence. Lenker also serves as director of the Transit Citizen Leadership Academy, a partnership with the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee, which recently received a 2013 Regional Thinking and Action Award from Cumberland Region Tomorrow.

“Working with citizens to help them become more aware of the issues and opportunities around them is a very rewarding aspect of the institute,” said Lenker. “I look forward to continuing the institute’s efforts to find new ways to develop strong leaders who will make a positive impact on our community.”

In addition to Lenker and Steele, the Andrews Institute administrative team includes Linda Peek Schacht, executive director of the Andrews Institute, and Cathy Cate, executive director of Leadership Tennessee and director of community leadership programs.

Founded in October 2010 to build on the legacy of Nashville leader Nelson Andrews, the Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership engages current and emerging leaders in academic and community programs to create thriving communities. These include a Master’s in Civic Leadership, one of only two in the nation; Citizen Leadership Academies and customized leadership classes serving counties and cities statewide. The institute’s newest initiative is Leadership Tennessee, the only statewide leadership education program in Tennessee created to cultivate a network of business, nonprofit, education and government leaders committed to addressing the state’s challenges and opportunities.

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