Raymond C. Pierce

President and CEO

Raymond C. Pierce serves as the President and CEO of the Southern Education Foundation where he is responsible for leading the organization’s vision and strategy in support of carrying out SEF’s mission to ensure equity and excellence in education for low-income students and students of color in the South. He brings critical expertise from the fields of education and civil rights policy and law, which reside at the heart of SEF’s core body of work.

Most recently, he served as Chief Education Officer at the Global Teaching Project. He has extensive experience in education, education policy, government, and business. From 1993 to 2000, he served in the Clinton administration as a senior executive and deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Education, where he managed the development of federal education policy and the enforcement of federal civil rights laws in education. During that time, Mr. Pierce served on several federal task forces relating to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, development of the Federal Communications Commission’s Universal Schools and Libraries Program (commonly known as the “E-rate”), the development of high standards education policies, and the advancement of charter schools and extended learning programs. Mr. Pierce also served on the White House Domestic Policy Council task force that developed the Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Zone economic development initiative.

From 2005 to 2012, Mr. Pierce was dean of the School of Law at North Carolina Central University, where he led the law school to achieve national recognition in educational programming and student achievement. During his time as dean, Mr. Pierce served on numerous boards of legal education, and he currently serves on the executive committee of the Council on Legal Education of the American Bar Association, which oversees accreditation of law schools in the United States. Both before and after his tenure as dean, Mr. Pierce engaged in the private practice of law as a partner with national and regional law firms, where his practice encompassed corporate, banking, and education matters. He also has been an attorney in the corporate law department in a Fortune 50 company. Mr. Pierce began his career as a civil rights attorney.

Mr. Pierce is a past member of the North Carolina State Banking Commission, and currently is a director of M&F Bank and M&F Bancorp, where he serves on the audit and corporate governance committees. Mr. Pierce’s service to educational institutions also includes having served on the board of trustees of Hawken College Preparatory School in Gates Mills, Ohio, the board of trustees of the Cleveland Music School, and the executive board of Duke University’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security. Mr. Pierce is a fellow of the American Bar Association Foundation and served on the North Carolina Chief Justice’s Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice.

Mr. Pierce earned a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a J.D. degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where he later received a Distinguished Graduate Award and was inducted into that school’s Society of Benchers.

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