News Release

Southern Education Foundation Hires New Government Affairs Director

MEDIA CONTACT:  Gretchen Wright,, (202) 421-5830

June 7, 2021 (Atlanta, Georgia) — The Southern Education Foundation (SEF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing education equity and opportunity in the South, is pleased to announce the hiring of Codeye J. Woody as its new Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy. Woody comes to SEF with significant experience in legislative and government affairs in the education arena.

As Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy for SEF, Woody will develop the organization’s legislative agenda and work with policymakers and other stakeholders to advance evidence-based policies to achieve education equity and opportunity in the southern states and beyond.

“We are delighted to have Codeye join our team here at the Southern Education Foundation,” said Raymond Pierce, President and CEO of SEF. “We are at a pivotal point in our nation’s history and we are excited to have a new Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy who will help us take advantage of this unique opportunity to make important and significant gains in education equity and opportunity. Codeye’s experience, skill, and commitment to equity will be invaluable in helping SEF achieve its historic mission of ensuring that every student in the South has access to the high-quality education that will help them succeed in life.”

Woody’s previous experience includes serving as Director of Legislative and Congressional Relations for Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida. He has also worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC as a Congressional Staff Assistant, and as a Researcher for the Gunster Law Firm and Edge Public Affairs, both in Orlando. His most recent position was Government Affairs Director for the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association.

Woody earned his B.S. in Political Science from the University of Central Florida.


Originally founded in 1867 to educate Black children and children from low-income families in the South, the Southern Education Foundation also has a long history of developing leaders in education and was a pivotal source of research and data to support legislation and litigation aimed at fighting inequity in education during the civil rights era. The organization today conducts leadership development, research, and advocacy to improve educational opportunities for low-income students and students of color and achieve educational equity in the Southern U.S. It is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Find out more at