Judy Jackson Winston ’87


“When I was a Junior at Cleveland Heights High, I had the opportunity to hear Joel Hyatt, who was a well-known attorney speak, as he was being inducted into the Cleveland Heights Distinguished Hall of Fame. I was moved by his speech and his words helped to spur me to do my part to help change the world and to truly make my community better. It is my hope that the work that I have done as a mental health advocate, attorney and author will motivate future leaders to do their part to make a difference in the world. It is an honor to be included in Hall of Fame with other great alumni. It is a lifelong dream come true and what I have been working my whole professional and personal life to achieve.”

“The time is always right to do what is right.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Judy, the first in her family to attend and graduate from college, often credits the education she received from CHHS as the foundation of both her academic and personal success. She has spoken publicly about the impact of a fellow classmate’s suicide during her sophomore year had on her choice to live a life of community service. To help improve the lives of Cuyahoga County’s most vulnerable citizens, Judy became a licensed social worker and attorney. For nearly 20 years, Judy investigated abuse, neglect, and rights violations within the public mental health and alcohol and drug systems as the Client Rights Officer at the Cuyahoga County Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Board. From there, Judy furthered her capacity to help others in distress as a Post-Decree Magistrate Judge for the Honorable Tonya R. Jones (the first Black elected judge in the history of the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court), where she presides over custody and property matters that occur after a divorce. When not busy resolving social or legal matters in a courtroom, Judy shares her personal voice as an author who entertains and educates. She has written two fiction novels and one non-fiction book aimed at raising awareness around mental health issues, human trafficking and sickle cell disease. Both novels have garnered significant awards this past year. Earlier in 2019, Judy’s impact on Northeast Ohio was recognized by inclusion in the 14th anniversary edition of Who’s Who in Black Cleveland-Akron-Canton.


JD, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University

MSSA, Case Western Reserve University

BA in Social work, The University of Akron

Current Occupation

Magistrate Judge-Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court

  • Author of two award winning novels: The Anniversary, finalist for the Independent Author’s Network 2020 Book of the Year Award and The Commemoration, finalist for the 2021 Eric Hoffer Awards in two categories

  • Martha Infield Excellence Award for fearless leadership in the mental health field (2016)

  • Co-Chair of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Connections Committee for the Alpha Omega Chapter

  • Sickle Cell Chair for Top Ladies of Distinction-Cleveland Chapter

  • Domestic Relations Chair for the Ohio Association of Magistrates

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Cleveland Chapter Community Leader of the Year (2009)