Mary Ella Goins Randall ’43

2003 Catharine Lealtad
Service to Society Award

View all Catharine Lealtad Service to Society Award recipients

Mary Ella Goins Randall (1921-2003) was a living link to the Lealtad family. Catharine Lealtad’s father, Father Alfred Lealtad, rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in St. Paul, married Mr. and Mrs. Goins, baptized Mary Ella and her brother Ransom ’40, and buried their father. Her pastor would have been proud of the woman Mary Ella Goins became.

For 39 years, Randall taught English in the Washington, D.C. public schools. She was passionate about her calling and dedicated to the highest standards of English instruction. She earned an M.A. from Catholic University in 1948 and 20 years later, an M.Ed. from the University of Maryland. Active in the National Council of Teachers of English, she served as president and newsletter editor of the local chapter. She was a major writer of the D.C. competency-based English curriculum.

Randall’s influence extended far beyond her classroom. With a graphic designer she created a map illustrating the geographic ties of 55 modern black writers. In 1986 she took first prize in a television script-writing contest with The Day Judge Whipper Went to Jail.

After retiring from the public schools, Randall became an adjunct English professor at the University of D.C. She was a pillar of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, teaching church school, editing the newsletter and working faithfully on the annual rummage sale.

Randall once wrote, "Given a chance at a re-run, would I be an English teacher? Probably yes, probably because my love of English has not changed and probably because I kept the insane idea that I might pass that love and enthusiasm for language and literature to my students. Is there any other reason for teaching?"