Ruth E. Kelly

Second Ward Commissioner


Ruth Kelly was born, raised and educated in Grand Rapids, where she has lived most of her life. She received a bachelor’s degree in political and social science from Aquinas College and a master’s in educational technology from Grand Valley State University. Ruth worked as a community organizer for Eastown, Baxter and the South East End neighborhood associations before starting her career in teaching. She has served on the City Commission since 2010.

Ruth was the first recipient of the Gerald R. Ford Leadership Scholarship because of her work with neighborhood business associations and community groups. She retired from teaching at Grand Rapids Public Schools, where she worked as a certified Montessori instructor and taught Social Studies and English. Her participation in the city has included serving on the Dyer-Ives Foundation Board, ACSET, Senior Advocates and various commission boards and committees.

Since joining the City Commission, Ruth has served on the Michigan Street Corridor Steering Committee, the Sustainable Streets Task Force and the GR Forward Downtown Steering Committee. She now serves on the North Quarter CID and is the commission liaison for the Urban Forestry Committee. Ruth has a passion for grassroots organizing and believes that citizen participation is the driver of solutions for our city.

Ruth’s current four-year term begins in January 2016 and ends December 31, 2019.