RTS Announces New Chief Operations Officer, Chief of Staff

Veteran HR leader Ricky Rayborn and former school psychology professor Dr. Tony Doggett join senior administration

Ricky Rayborn, Dr. Tony Doggett
Ricky Rayborn, Dr. Tony Doggett

JACKSON, Miss. — Together with Chancellor Ligon Duncan, the Reformed Theological Seminary Board of Trustees is pleased to announce two new appointments to the seminary’s senior administration. Ricky Rayborn and Dr. Tony Doggett have been named Chief Operations Officer and Chancellor’s Chief of Staff, respectively.

The new appointments come after the unanimous recommendation of an ad hoc search committee of the board to the Executive Committee at their April 6, 2023 meeting. Rayborn has served RTS as Director of Human Resources since November 2022 and began his new role immediately following the April 6 meeting. Dr. Doggett is scheduled to begin his duties on June 1.

“During Ricky Rayborn’s time as Director of HR, it became increasingly clear that his talents as a leader, mentor, and manager were needed on the business side of RTS,” said Board Chairman Richard Ridgway. “I am extremely pleased that he will be serving in this role. His leadership could not have come to the seminary at a better time in our history.”

Rayborn’s focus as COO is to guide and support the Cabinet—the institution’s chief officers—in accordance with the chancellor’s direction, as well as the Council, or campus presidents and executive directors. The COO serves as a liaison between these core leadership groups.

“I am delighted that Ricky Rayborn has agreed to be our new Chief Operations Officer,” said Dr. Duncan. “Ricky is the consummate business professional and will serve and support RTS in a variety of ways, especially in overseeing the day-to-day business operations of the seminary and providing trusted leadership institution-wide. His experience in human resources and organizational development are especially pertinent to his new role. I am looking forward to working with him to make RTS even more administratively effective and efficient.”

Rayborn brings extensive business leadership experience to the role. He is the cofounder of Laborchex, Inc., a national employment background screening company, where he served in the roles of president, chief operating officer, and chief human resources officer as needed. He has provided human resources leadership and consulting to a variety of industries nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations. In 1988, he cofounded Little Acorns Child Development Center in the Dr. A.H. McCoy Federal Building in downtown Jackson, Miss.

Before earning a B.S. in liberal arts from the University of Southern Mississippi, Rayborn served in the United States Marine Corps. He and his wife Janie have three adult children and attend Pinelake Church in Brandon, Miss.

Dr. Doggett has served as a teaching assistant for Dr. Duncan since 2018 and will graduate with an MDiv degree from RTS Jackson this spring. As the Chancellor’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Doggett will aid and extend the chancellor by assisting in office administration, facilitating the board and Executive Committee, communication, development, project management, and change management.

“Tony and I have built a close working relationship over the five years since he came to RTS,” Dr. Duncan said. “His academic background, his professorial credentials, his experience in higher education, his expertise in project and change management, and his understanding of our RTS ethos and mission are all invaluable. I am excited to welcome him into this full-time position.”

Prior to experiencing a call to ministry and beginning studies at RTS, Dr. Doggett earned B.A., MA, and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi. He was a tenure-track faculty member in the School Psychology Programs at Mississippi State University, serving at different times as Program Coordinator for the School Psychology Programs and Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology. He then worked as a school psychologist and was a partner in his own school consulting company.

Hu Meena, Chairman and CEO of CSpire, is an RTS trustee and served as chairman of the ad hoc search committee.

“As organizations grow, a chief of staff is often utilized alongside other roles like that of a COO to ensure tight operations in the CEO’s office and the broader organization,” said Meena. “The chief of staff supports a CEO directly in ways a COO would not, such as outlining the CEO’s personal priorities, ensuring their time is aligned, drafting communications, and supporting their relationship with direct reports. Tony will excel in all of these responsibilities, and we were glad to recommend him for the position.”

Dr. Doggett has also worked as the senior minister’s intern at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson since 2019. He is married to Theresa and they have two children.