News Release

Southern Education Foundation Hires New Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy

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

March 22, 2022 (Atlanta, GA)–The Southern Education Foundation (SEF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing education equity and opportunity in the South, today announced the hiring of Fred Jones as its new Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy. Jones comes to SEF with extensive experience in legislative and government affairs in the field of education, as well as in the philanthropic sector.

As Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for SEF, Jones will develop the organization’s legislative agenda and work with policymakers and other key state influencers to advance evidence-based policies to achieve education equity and opportunity in the southern states and beyond.

“We are very excited to have Fred return to the Southern Education Foundation,” said Raymond Pierce, SEF President and CEO. “We are at a unique and important time in our nation’s history, facing deep political division and ongoing attacks on public education. It is more important than ever for the Southern Education Foundation to advocate for the policies and practices that will help create the equitable education system that our children so desperately need. Fred’s exceptional experience, skill, and determination in advocating for equity will go a long way in helping the Southern Education Foundation achieve its historic mission of ensuring that every student in the South has access to the opportunities and high-quality education that they deserve.”

Jones served as SEF’s Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy for two-and-a-half years before taking his most recent position as Policy Director at the Aurora Institute, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization shaping the future of teaching and learning through its work in policy advocacy, research, and field-building/convening. He has worked for the Education and Labor Committee at the U.S. House of Representatives, where he helped to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, the National and Community Service Act, and the Affordable Care Act. He served as the Director of Government Affairs at the United Negro College Fund, where he led congressional budgetary and appropriations advocacy efforts for private Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He was also the Deputy Director for SouthCarolinaCAN, where he advocated that school boards in South Carolina adopt improved governance and student achievement policies.

Jones earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Tufts University and his MBA from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

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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 students of color and students from low-income families and achieve educational equity in the southern U.S. It is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Find out more at