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Dr. Macel Ely


macel ely pic

Fellow, Leadership and Governance Program
PhD, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Dr. Macel Ely serves as Executive Director of the Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership (NCEL) at the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service. The purpose of the NCEL is to provide training and professional growth to leaders at all levels, from the emerging supervisor to the experienced senior executive. Providing leadership development and training to local and state government officials for many years now, training programs he oversees include the Tennessee Government Executive Institute, Tennessee Government Management Institute, the Tennessee Certified Public Manager Program and the Local Government Leadership Program. Prior to serve in this role, Dr. Macel Ely, served as the training manager for the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS). During that time, Dr. Ely oversaw multiple training programs including the Municipal Court Clerk Program, the Tennessee Elected Officials Academy, Municipal Management Academy, and the Certified Municipal Finance Officer programs.

Dr. Ely has earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Lee University and Kentucky Wesleyan College and a master’s degree in public administration and a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He has earned the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) certification through the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and also has professional certificates in the areas of coaching, leadership program development and training management. His area of research interests includes local and state governments and their impact upon rural Appalachia. Awarded the 2015 Robert S. Hutchison Outstanding Public Service Professional Award, Dr. Ely has also authored a book entitled Ain’t No Grave, which has been featured in such media outlets as CNN Headline News, National Public Radio, and the British Broadcasting Corporation. This literary work was nominated for best historical research by the Association of Recorded Sound Collections. Dr. Macel Ely also serves on charitable boards across the country. He and his wife, Jamie, reside in Walland with their two children.

Research Interests

Local and state governments and their impact upon rural Appalachia.


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