KBE SPOTLIGHT | Cody Pauley Johnson brings a voice to Eastern Kentucky

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Kentucky Board of Education member Cody Pauley Johnson reads to a class at Peaks Mill Elementary (Franklin County).
Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) member Cody Pauley Johnson reads to a class at Peaks Mill Elementary (Franklin County). Johnson, a Pike County native, aims to bring a voice from Eastern Kentucky to the KBE.
Photo by Jacob Perkins, March 4, 2020
  • Cody Pauley Johnson, a Pikeville High School (Pikeville Independent) graduate, says that education is a key that will unlock doors and provide opportunities for students.
  • Johnson wants to show Eastern Kentucky that their voice matters in Kentucky’s public education.

By Jacob Perkins
Jacob.perkins@education.ky.gov

Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) member Cody Pauley Johnson has witnessed first-hand the decline of jobs in Eastern Kentucky since the coal industry has all but vanished.

As a member of the KBE, she is hoping to put an emphasis on education and preparing students to be college or career-ready when they graduate high school so that the region can experience that same coal-like boom once again.

“We need to focus more on education and educating our youth so that they can stay in this area and get jobs that pay well,” she said. “We need to focus on technical schools that will bring higher paying jobs to the area.”

Johnson, a Pikeville High School (Pikeville Independent) graduate, said that education is a key that will unlock doors and provide opportunities for students that may not have had many opportunities before.

“Being from Eastern Kentucky, there are limited resources and limited opportunities here,” she said. “When you get an education, you are able to compete with the rest of the state and the rest of the country.”

Johnson has a background in business and an interest in addressing challenges in education such as funding and class sizes. She serves as the manager and marketing director for Johnson Law Firm in Pikeville.

She is a dedicated volunteer who was recognized in 2015 as the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year. She serves as a member of the Pike County Cooperative Extension Services Family and Consumer Science Board and the city of Pikeville’s Historic Preservation Board.

Johnson is also chairman of the Pikeville Main Street Program and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Pike County. She previously served on the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service and the Pike County Domestic Violence Board.

“I have served on various boards that have had different community outreach,” she said about her experience prior to joining the KBE. “Being an employer in this area, I am aware of what students need to compete – job skills and communication skills.”

Johnson said while serving on the KBE, she wants to see it remain student-focused. She believes that focusing on continuously providing students with opportunities to succeed will benefit the Commonwealth long-term.

In addition to providing these opportunities, Johnson added that her time on the board is especially important for the students and educators of Eastern Kentucky. She wants to show them that their voice matters in Kentucky’s public education.

“We have a voice, just like the rest of the state,” she said. “We have an opportunity to speak to what our unique needs are for education in our area.”

Johnson’s term will expire April 14, 2024.

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