Regina T. Rutledge, 79, a retired elementary school principal who spent more than 40 years working for the D.C. public schools, died Oct. 17 at Washington Hospital Center.

She had cancer, said her sister, Constance Laws.

Mrs. Rutledge, a Washington resident, retired in 1997 after serving 10 years as principal of Charles R. Drew Elementary School. She had previously taught sixth grade at the school from 1955 to 1985 and was a counselor at Smothers Elementary School for two years.

She was also an advisory neighborhood commissioner and treasurer in the late 1970s to early 1980s.Former Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr. cited her as one of the “top 100 women” in the D.C. government and appointed her to his Human Services Task Force in 1982, her sister said.

Mrs. Rutledge chaired the Mayor’s Commission on Food, Nutrition and Health from 1982 to 1988.

Regina Ruth Tolson was a fourth-generation Washington native and a 1950 graduate of Dunbar High School. She graduated from the old Washington Miner Teachers College in 1954 and received a master’s degree in education from Trinity University of Washington in 1985.

Mrs. Rutledge was a member of Zion Baptist Church in Washington, where she sang in the choir and chaired the deaconess board. She was honored by the Eastland Gardens Civic Association and was a member of several educational organizations.

Her husband of 48 years, William Rutledge, died in 2008. Their son Llewellyn Rutledge died in 2011.

Survivors include five children, Wayne Rutledge of Baltimore, LuJuan Rutledge of Capitol Heights, Regina Barry of Hyattsville, and Derrick Rutledge and William Rutledge, both of Washington; a sister, Constance Laws of Washington; and a grandson.

— Megan McDonough