On Monday afternoon Suzanne H. Smith became the first woman ever appointed to judgeship on the Superior Court of the Cherokee Judicial Circuit.
The appointment from Gov. Nathan Deal came after a state Judicial Nominating Commission began taking nomination and narrowing the field last year after Shepherd Howell retired.
The commission narrowed it down and sent its recommendation of three people to Deal in January of this year. The three recommended were Kelley Dial, Harry White and Suzanne Smith.
“I am so excited and honored to have been appointed as the newest Superior Court Judge for the Cherokee Judicial Circuit,” Smith said. “It is a dream come true for me.”
Smith currently serves as City of Calhoun Municipal Court Judge, Judge Pro Tempore for Gordon County Juvenile Court and Gordon County Attorney.
However, now that Smith has been appointed to the superior court the county will have to find a replacement.
“As Judge Smith transitions into her new role, the board will be discussing options for her replacement,” Becky Hood, Chairwoman of the Gordon County Commissioners, said. “The great news is that she is only a phone call away and more than willing to keep helping this community move forward.”
This isn’t the first time Smith has broken the gender barrier. After earning her bachelor’s degree from Berry College and her law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law, Smith became the first woman to practice law in Calhoun in 1988.
“The lessons that I learned and experiences that I gained from my peers and my clients during those early days were invaluable, much more so than anything that I learned in law school,” Smith said. “They helped me, instructed me and guided me in both legal and life lessons.”
In 1995, Smith became the fulltime attorney for Gordon County, which is an opportunity she cherishes.
“That opportunity has been the most wonderful professional experience of my life. It has allowed me to meet so many people here in Gordon County and to get to know so much about our community, both as it exists now and its history,” Smith said. “I have enjoyed every day of working with each of them, and I am thankful for everything that we have been involved with together. My colleagues and coworkers taught me the importance of teamwork and the joy of participating together in accomplishments. I am forever grateful for all of those experiences, and I treasure their friendship.”
Moving forward with the new appointment, Smith is excited about her new role and the opportunities it brings.
“This new position will give me another chance to meet many new people and to continue to learn from each of them,” Smith said. “I have always believed in the importance of fairness, justice and opportunity for everyone, and I will always work to make sure that happens.”
People that have worked with Smith over the years believe she will do an excellent job, and believe she deserves this appointment.
“I have worked with Suzanne Smith for many years in her capacity as county attorney, municipal court judge, Chairman of the Downtown Development Authority, member of the HPC and various other committees and boards,” Suzanne Roland, director of DDA, said. “She has been a fair and impartial voice guiding all of us on these committees for the betterment of our community. I simply could not be more proud for my friend in her appointment.”
As for the county government she served for 14 years, they hate to see her go but are thankful for what she has done while serving.
“The board of commissioners is very proud of Suzanne on her most recent appointment,” Hood said. “She has always been an excellent attorney for Gordon County Government and a fantastic judge for Gordon County. There is no doubt that she will do well as the new superior court judge.”