Paula Hicks was born and raised in Hamilton in Butler County, Ohio, one of eight children from a combined family. Her father worked for the city of Hamilton in the streets department garage. He encouraged his children to pursue higher education.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College in Georgia and married Freeman Hudson the same year. She graduated with a master’s degree in communications development from Colorado State University in 1975.
Returning to Ohio, she went to work in the Upward Bound program at Central State University in Wilberforce, teaching readiness skills to underprepared students — an experience that opened her eyes to juvenile delinquents’ legal needs.
She received her law degree at The University of Iowa in 1982.
Paula was then appointed to City Council on January 11, 2011 to replace Michael Ashford. She won a special election for the District 4 spot on May 3, 2011. She then was the top vote getter in the September 13th municipal primary election and went on to win the November 8, 2011 General Election for a four year term to the District 4 seat which began on January 3, 2012. She became President of Council on February 26, 2013 during a special council meeting. On February 17, 2015 Paula was sworn in as Mayor for the City of Toledo, following the passing of D. Michael Collins on February 6, 2015.