County Dedicates Roadway to Longest-Serving School Board Member

Wednesday, January 25, 2023 | 

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County Dedicates Roadway to Longest-Serving School Board Member

Today, Leon County Government dedicated a portion of Tharpe Street from North Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Ocala Road in honor of Georgia “Joy” Bowen, the longest-serving Leon County School Board Member. Designated by the Leon County Board of County Commissioners, the dedication of the Georgia “Joy” Bowen Roadway will recognize Bowen as a loved and respected educator, counselor, public servant and leader in the community.

“Joy devoted her life to serving others through her efforts to promote scholarly excellence among her students and community,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Nick Maddox. “Her passion and tenacity for this work are unmatched, which is one of the many reasons why the Leon County Board of County Commissioners is proud to dedicate this portion of Tharpe Street in her honor. She serves as an example for all of us.”

Bowen was born in Marianna, Florida, where she received her Associate of Arts degree from Jackson Junior College. She then moved to Tallahassee to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and a Master of Education from Florida A&M University. Prior to her time with the Leon County School Board, Bowen taught at the middle and high school levels, served as the Dean of Women at Morris College, and worked in Student Affairs at Florida State University.

In 1998, Bowen was elected as a member of the Leon County School Board, and for 24 years, she distinguished herself by her selfless dedication and quality of service for all classes, races and creeds. During her tenure as a Leon County School Board Member, Bowen served three terms as the Chair and served as the Board liaison to other governmental entities, including the Leon County Board of County Commissioners.

“Ms. Bowen proudly served the residents and students in School Board District 3 for two and a half decades and her numerous references to her beloved schools along the 'Tharpe Street Corridor' will now live on forever as a part of our community’s history,” said Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna. “Today is a celebration of her life-long endeavor to help make Tallahassee and Leon County an amazing place to live and raise a family.”

Along with her role as a Leon County School Board Member, Bowen served on several boards and committees, including as a member of the Workforce Plus American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Advisory Council, a member of the nominating committee for the leadership of the National School Boards Association representing the Southern Region, and as president of the Florida School Boards Association. She was also appointed by Governor Charlie Crist to serve on the Child Abuse Prevention and Permanency Advisory Council.

“I am humbled to be honored with this roadway dedication in the heart of my school district,” said Bowen. “I appreciate the County for bestowing me with such an honor. My hope is that the people of Leon County riding up and down this street will see it and remember the importance of public service and education.”

For more information, contact Mathieu Cavell, Leon County Community and Media Relations, at (850) 606-5300 /

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