Dena L. Randolph, 36, educator

June 30, 1994|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

Dena L. Randolph, a director of multicultural education and co-director of the Minnesota Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity project, died unexpectedly June 6 after returning to her Minneapolis home from a business trip. The former Baltimorean was 36.

In 1992, she had moved from New York City to Minneapolis, where she taught sixth-grade and eighth-grade history and English at the Breck School.

She also directed the private school's efforts to diversify its curriculum as well as to begin the state's first SEED program, which replicated a national project.

More than 900 teachers and 30 communities throughout Minnesota are involved with the program, which examines attitudes toward multicultural and gender issues.

"She understood that the traditional curriculum excludes the perspectives of women, people of color and other underrepresented peoples," said Kathy Nelson, co-director of the SEED project with Ms. Randolph.

"She has had a tremendous impact on Minnesota education. We have lost a driving force."

Sam Salas, headmaster of Breck, said, "In her two years at Breck, she transformed our approach to multicultural education and transformed all of us in some manner.

"She was our conscience."

Born in Bermuda and reared in Northwest Baltimore, she was a 1976 graduate of Northwestern High School and received a bachelor's degree from Williams College in 1980. She was studying for a master's degree at Columbia University.

"Dena was a great lover of music and was an avid reader as a child," said her mother, Marva Randolph of Baltimore. "She always said she wanted to go to college from the time she was a little girl. I'd say, 'We're poor people,' and she'd say, 'But Mom, I'm qualified and I'm determined to go to college.' "

The day after she graduated from Williams, she went to work as assistant director of admissions and director of minority recruitment at Smith College.

After leaving Smith, she taught in New York at Riverdale Country School, Brooklyn Friends School and Fieldston School, where she also was coordinator of multicultural affairs before moving to Minneapolis.

Besides her mother, survivors include three sisters, Tammy Holliday and Mindell Randolph, both of Baltimore, and Allyson Randolph of Philadelphia; and special friend, Robert Herbert of Minneapolis.

Memorial donations may be made to the Dena Randolph Memorial Fund, Breck School, 123 Ottawa North, Minneapolis 55422.

A memorial service was held in Baltimore June 14.

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