Hundreds of Toledoans see Vallie Bowman-English’s name every day, but few of them know who she is, or the good work that she’s done for the Toledo Municipal Court.
A Toledo native, Vallie graduated from the University of Toledo with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1992, and earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) degree from Ohio Northern University in 1995. Before her election as Clerk of the Toledo Municipal Court in 2003, Vallie served as an Assistant Lucas County Prosecutor. She was elected president of the Toledo Bar Association, serving in 2016-2017. As Clerk of the Toledo Municipal Court, she has made the Court more accessible and efficient. Her efforts include ongoing implementation of technology, electronic imaging of court records, a mobile court app, which helps individuals view court information online, and electronic ticket citation records. She has also been a supportive advocate for local education and training programs, such as the TBA’s recent Driver’s License Clinic.
Vallie lives with her husband, Judge Ian B. English of the Lucas County Common Pleas Court, and their son, Ian.
Q & A With Vallie Bowman-English
I have always wanted to…
Do the right thing. Knowing what is right is often challenging, but I strive to find the answer every day.
What was your first job?
I worked in a beauty shop. I would sweep up hair from the floor, wash towels and keep the shop tidy, in exchange for tips and hairdos.
Your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment, outside of having a great family, is being a past president of the Toledo Bar Association.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that I was adopted by my father when I was a young child. To honor him, I kept his last name when I got married and chose to hyphenate.
Can you tell us about your clothes and style?
When I was born, my mom’s very stylish and classy sister started buying my clothes, and she never stopped. To this day, she is still responsible for my wardrobe. Because she lives out of town, I receive UPS boxes that contain clothes, shoes, and handbags.
What advice would you give to the younger you?
It’s ok to be different. No one can beat you at being you.
Who is someone you’d like to meet?
Michelle Obama. I am interested in hearing about the things she could not write about in her book. The things we do not talk about publicly are usually the things that influence our paths the most.
What inspires you now?
The younger generation of leaders moving into their future with love, kindness, boldness and dedication to the service of others. It gives me hope that we will overcome many of the obstacles that have kept us from reaching our greatest potential.
I have so many favorite movies, so I cannot choose one. I often use movie quotes in my daily conversations.
Who do you most admire?
I admire my grandparents the most. They migrated from the South with minimal resources and came to Toledo to make a better life for their six children. They worked many jobs to provide excellent educational opportunities for their children and instilled a sense of dignity, honor, and ethical accountability in them that I am guided by daily.
What is something people may be surprised to know about you?
I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader until I was in the sixth grade. I then decided I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer.
What is your pet peeve? Intolerance.
Favorite book? Prayers that Avail Much by Germaine Copeland
What do you admire in people? Resilience.
What are the words you live by? Don’t complain about it if you aren’t willing to do something about it!