Sherry Abbott Todd learned from her mother Jean Abbott to “never be afraid to step outside the box.”
Todd is the new Special Judge of the District Court of the Chickasaw Nation.
Chickasaw Nation Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Bellefeuille-Gordon administered the oath of office to Todd at the tribal Judicial Building in Ada April 4, 2011 in a ceremony attended by several family members and friends of Todd as well as Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, tribal legislators, administrators and employees.
“The decisions that we make, make a difference in people’s lives. I am aware of that; I take that seriously,” Todd said. “I promise you that I will treat the families as if they were a part of my family.”
“I honor this position, I honor this nation and I honor the families that make up our great nation.”
Todd replaces tribal Special Judge Dustin P. Rowe who served in the position since 2005 and recently was appointed Chickasaw Nation District Court Judge.
Todd, a Chickasaw citizen, served as the Assistant Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma since 1998 and the Assistant District Attorney for Oklahoma County (1988-1998.) She had also been serving as the Magistrate of the District Court of the Chickasaw Nation since 2004.
“We expect Judge Todd to be a valuable asset to our judicial team,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “Her vast legal and judicial knowledge and experience will enable the tribe to further our mission of enhancing the lives of Chickasaw people.”
Todd said she had always wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer and decided to study law at age 38.
“Your age should never be a barrier for new goals and new careers,” Todd said.
Todd had previously graduated from East Central University in Ada with a bachelor’s degree in education and had taught at Byng for several years.
Originally from Ada, Todd moved to Norman to attend University of Oklahoma.
These days, she is back in Ada, living with her mother.
Todd’s family has a long history of serving the tribe.
Her brother David Abbott is a pilot for the Chickasaw Nation and her sister Thalia Miller is the tribal horticulture department director.
Her late father Joe Kent Abbott was a tribal legislator and business manager.
Her late uncle Barney Abbott Jr. was a judge for the tribe.
Todd has a daughter Shanda Jo Nelson, a son-in-law Jack and two grandchildren, Parker and Peyton.