2021 Inductee, Georgia Women of Achievement
September 25, 1893
October 30, 1978
City, Town, Region
Oconee County, GA
As a long-time English teacher at Athens High School, Miss Ruby Anderson’s love of and dedication to education touched thousands of lives. In some cases, three generations of families were impacted by her devotion and commitment to teaching.
Born on October 10, 1893, Ruby Maude Anderson was the ninth and youngest child of Oconee County school teacher Sallie Frances White and her husband Henry Sanford Anderson. At only 17 years of age, Miss Ruby followed her mother into a Watkinsville classroom and began her long and influential career in education. In 1913, she accepted a position at Athens High School to teach English.
Over the years, Miss Ruby received many honors for her work in the classroom, including being named a PAGE STAR teacher and Athens Woman of the Year in Education in 1963. She was the first teacher to have her name inscribed in the Georgia Teacher Hall of Fame and was a member of several national honor societies in education, including Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Delta Pi, and Delta Kappa Gamma.
One of Miss Ruby’s greatest recognitions occurred when President Eisenhower appointed her to the Educational Policies Commission of the National Education Association where she merged her passion for teaching with her desire to impact education beyond her own classroom. The Educational Policies Commission was established to “fill the gap between thought and action in American education” by assembling a group of educators of “very high prestige” to write policy planning documents–documents that considered the most important educational issues of the time and made policy recommendations for improving the issue at hand.
Miss Ruby also taught English classes at the University of Georgia and served as a consultant for educational conferences held at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina, Emory University, and Emory at Oxford.
After 43 years of service in public education, Miss Ruby retired in 1964 at the age of 71 but continued to teach at Athens High School as a substitute teacher for several more years.
Mayor Julius Bishop—a former student of Miss Ruby’s—and the City Council of Athens declared the day she retired as Miss Ruby Anderson Day and presented her with a tour of Europe. Her favorite part of the trip was a visit to Shakespeare’s birthplace.
When Miss Ruby died on October 30, 1978, her obituary was front page news in the Athens newspaper. In an editorial, the paper summarized her achievements as an educator:
If there was ever an example of a dedicated public servant who led an exemplary life for those who follow, it was Miss Ruby Anderson. Her death removed from our midst a valued and respected person who dedicated her entire being to her chosen profession, that of teaching young people both in the classroom and by example of her leadership and dedication.
Upon her death, Miss Ruby left a bequest to the UGA College of Education to establish the Ruby Anderson Scholarship Fund, which supports graduate students primarily from Clarke and Oconee Counties who have at least five years of teaching experience in Georgia high schools. According to a story published in UGA’s Faculty Staff Newspaper in 1979, friends and former students of Miss Ruby’s viewed her bequest to provide scholarships to future teachers as a fitting culmination to a life devoted to education.