Street Renaming Honors Valdosta Public Servant

| July 24, 2015

Crowder Street becomes Ruth Council Drive

Valdosta Government

VALDOSTA — “Some people may say that the grass is greener on the other side, but I make it greener right here,” said lifelong community leader and educator Ruth Council, who has lived in the same Valdosta home for over 50 years and in the same neighborhood where a street will soon bear her name.

On Saturday, August 1, at 10 a.m., Valdosta citizens will gather for a ceremony to officially rename Crowder Street—the 319-foot city street that runs between Bethune Street and Bunche Drive—to Ruth K. Council Drive. Valdosta City Council approved the street name change at the June 25 City Council meeting, after receiving a petition representing the approval of over 80 percent of residents on the street.

Council said her students who come back to Valdosta to visit with her often say, “Ms. Council, you’re still living there?” Council feels strongly that people should be proud of their community and stay to make it better, rather than always trying to find the next best thing. At age 81, she hopes her life serves as an example of the great things people can do when they devote themselves to improve the places where they live.

Council’s exemplary life as an educator began in 1957, where she was a second-grade teacher for 16 years. During that time, she was part of the first group of teachers to work at the newly integrated W.G. Nunn Elementary School and demonstrated a unique ability to positively interact with students and teachers during a time when integration was new. Council served as the Curriculum Director for the City of Valdosta Schools from 1973-1978 and as the Principal at Lomax-Pinevale Elementary School from 1978-1987. She was one of the first women appointed as a principal of an integrated school, and her leadership style was instrumental in eliminating a significant discipline problem at the school.

In 1974, Council was elected by popular vote for a two-year At Large Valdosta City Council seat and became the first African-American and the second female Valdosta City Council member. She was re-elected for a four-year term in 1976, and she served as the Mayor Pro Tem in 1980.

Some of Council’s other significant accomplishments include: Georgia Teacher of the Year in 1968, Valdosta Teacher of the Year in 1972-1973, Outstanding Educator and Citizen Award in 1973, and the Outstanding Community Work Award in 1980. Council organized the Housing Task Force to address substandard homes in the community, and she served on several other influential organizations, such as the Valdosta Association of Educators (President), Valdosta-Lowndes County Retired Teachers Association (President), Care House Creative Learning Center (Education Consultant), Chairman of the Valdosta-Lowndes Art Commission (Chairman), Citizens Advisory Council, State Heritage Trust Commission, State Crime Commission, State Professional Practices Commission and the State Textbook Committee. She is a charter member of Leadership Lowndes and a graduate of Leadership Georgia.

Council received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Clark College in Atlanta and her Master’s Degree in Education and Administrative Supervision from Valdosta State College.

“Ruth Council laid the foundation for progress in our community, and her passionate life of excellence is an inspiration to countless citizens,” said long-time friend and City Councilman Joseph ‘Sonny’ Vickers. “This street renaming ceremony will pay tribute to the contributions she has made to Valdosta that will be admired for generations to come.”

Citizens attending the August 1 event are asked to park their vehicles in the vacant lot located at the junction of Crowder Street and Bethune Street. The public is invited to join Mrs. Council and her husband of 58 years, Ralph Council, their two adult daughters and one granddaughter at the ceremony, which will also be attended by community leaders and friends.

City of Valdosta

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1 Comment on "Street Renaming Honors Valdosta Public Servant"

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  1. PENELOPE says:

    congratulations….some people only move in obedience to GOD in the name of Lord Jesus